Featured image: Vidalia onion crop progress, courtesy of Danny Ray with Ray Farms, Inc in Glennville, GA
Derek Ennis with L&M Cos. in Raleigh, NC, weighed in this week on the company’s Warden, WA, program. “We will be shipping out of our Washington area for about another three weeks,” Derek said. “The quality has been very good. We always know what we need to have in the spring for our customer base, so when we put onions in storage, we are prepared to save the best for last.” He continued, “Demand this week has been steady. We have seen some increase for the holiday, but it hasn’t been the normal demand. We are hopeful that we see it pick up here in a couple of weeks.” Derek added, “We have seen positive demand for jumbos and retail packs. The market is steady. We thought we would see a jump, and we do foresee an increase, but it’s just not there right now.”
Paul Reeping with Riverfront Produce in Payette, ID, told us on April 5 that demand is strong this week. “We have been very busy,” he said. “Buyers are looking for primarily for jumbos and larger.” He continued, “We are selling yellows and reds in all sizes and will be going for another month, maybe more, but much of that depends on what we are moving.” Paul gave his take on the current buying environment. “The market is climbing and on the move. I think the increase in our company’s demand and the increase in the overall market boils down to three factors: the recent rains in Texas, the Easter pull and the fact that buyers are looking for quality. I’ve even had some customers move to new crop and then come back. We’re in good shape right now, and we should continue to see good demand and improvement on the market too.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, reported in on April 5, telling us that Eagle Eye is still shipping out of Washington. “We will be shipping out of Washington for about another three weeks,” Jason said. “We have all three colors available, with good availability of whites and reds, and we still have some availability on yellows as well.” Jason added that the market is inching up. “The market is increasing, and we anticipate it to keep improving over the next several weeks.” On S. Texas, Jason said, “Even though the weather has not been our best friend here in South Texas, we are working diligently to take care of our customer needs. We have been harvesting all colors and sizes, offering retail consumer packs as well as bulk cartons and bags. Our staff in the facility is exceptional and make it very easy to get loaded in a timely manner with the utmost professionalism. The Texas season is a short but an integral part of our business. It fills the gap between the NW and the California onion season and gives us the capability of having a year-round program.” Many thanks to Jason for sharing recent photos of his visit to Charles Wetegrove Company in Raymondville, Texas. Click images to enlarge and scroll.
Mike Davis with Tex Mex Sales LLC in Weslaco, TX, told us on April 5 that his team is working diligently to get onions in before this week’s anticipated rains. “We are doing everything we can to get onions clipped and get them in here before we get the next round of rain,” he said. “We are a little north, so we haven’t had as much rain as some, but as an onion farmer right now, we don’t want the rain. On the other hand, I farm other crops, so I am sure farmers are going to understand this when I say that we do need the rain here, just not for onions.” Mike said this week, demand exceeds supply. “The rain has helped with the market,” he said. “As far as the market goes, we are up from just a couple of weeks ago.” And Mike mentioned that Tex Mex is still shipping Mexican onions. “We are shipping all three colors out of Mexico, and that should be going another two weeks or so,” he said. “Honestly, we really won’t know until they stop shipping. There are some variables there, so it’s hard to tell until we get closer.” On transportation, Mike said it’s been the same. “Rates have been stable, and we really haven’t seen much fluctuation as far as pricing or truck availability, so everything is fine that way.”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said his operation finished its last Tampico loads this week, noting, “We’re celebrating now.”
Brad Sumner with Pacific Coast Trading in Portland told us on April 5 that organic yellow demand “is down a little,” adding, “There is an abundance of NW yellow supply left.” He said, “Organic reds are tight as the NW sheds run down and are only able to fill existing contracts.” Looking at the market, Brad said, “The red market rising a little. Yellows staying steady with some cheaper deals, and whites ae steady.” We asked about the move between growing areas, and Brad said, “The transition between the United States and Mexico product is tough to say right now. There has been rain in Mexico, and delays due to cooler weather have created gaps in supply. The only thing for sure is there are plenty of yellow organics left in the Northwest.” He continued, “Storage crop quality continues to be very good. Normal long-term storage issues are there. The long day varieties our sheds grow now really hold up.” And Brad noted on transportation, “Trucks are plentiful, and price is right on our Washington to California run.”
Texas Rio Grande Valley:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen said on April 5 recent rains and the forecast for another monsoon event this week and into the weekend have caused damage to his company’s crop in the RGV, but the extent is not fully known. He said he’s waiting for the fields to dry to assess the situation. David noted the Eagle Pass and Coahuila, Mexico, seasons are expected to start in early May.
New Mexico/Chihuahua, Mexico:
James Johnson with Carzalia Valley Produce in Columbus told us on April 3 his fields have been seeing some weather. “No rain, just wind,” he said. “We’re still on time for starting out of Chihuahua in about three weeks. We’ve still been cool and expecting a pretty hard freeze Wednesday morning.” The New Mexico season is expected to start in late May.
Danny Ray with Ray Farms, Inc in Glennville, GA told us on April 6 that the crop has come along nicely and his company will e ready for the April 17th start date. “We’ve had some good weather recently and the onions have some good size on them. We are clipping now and getting in the fields to harvest, and we’ll be drying them out so they are ready to go by the official start date. We are looking forward to a good season this year.” Many thanks to Danny for sending in recent photos of his crop. Click image to enlarge.
Calipatria, CA/New Mexico:
Derek Ennis with L&M Cos. in Raleigh, NC, weighed in this week on the company’s Calipatria program. “It looks like we’ll be ready to go with Calipatria on April 24,” he said. “We will start out with all three colors because our customers will be expecting that. The size profile may be a little small to start, but we’ll have larger onions as we get further into the crop. The crop is shaping up well, and we still have a good 10-14 days for the sizing to get there, so we’re in good shape for the start-up there.” Derek added that New Mexico is coming along as well. “The crop is looking nice in New Mexico, and we anticipate starting the end of May or the first part of June,” he said.
Imperial Valley, CA:
Mike Smythe with West Valley Packing told us on April 5 that West Valley will be starting up earlier than expected. “It’s heating up, and we have some 100-degree days expected this weekend,” Mike said. “There are supers and colossal in the field, so we are ready to go! Flat sweet yellows will start on April 17th, and we should start shipping yellows on the 19th or the 20th. Reds and whites will follow the week after. We are excited for this new season.” Many thanks to Mike for sending in the recent photos of the new crop. Click image to enlarge.
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, reported in on April 5, telling us that the company’s California deal is on track to start up the third week of this month. “Everything is shaping up in the Imperial Valley, and we expect to start the week of April 24,” he said. “We’ll start with yellows and then add reds and whites a week after that. The reports are the onions are in good shape, and we are excited to get going in California.”
Colorado Western Slope:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on April 5 that Mother Nature hadn’t given his growers a break yet, and planting hasn’t started on the Western Slope or in Corinne, UT.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, told us on April 5 his growers in Delta are looking at planting from mid-April until the end of the month, depending on weather.