Featured image: Beautiful red onions cropped from a recent Instagram post by Snake River Produce in Nyssa, OR. Also, check out this week’s Instagram feature to view more great photos.
Washington, Columbia Basin, and Peru:
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing in Walla Walla, WA told us on Dec.15 that demand is good this week. “I was just looking at the USDA numbers, and movement looks to be average compared to past years,” Dan said. “The hybrid market is strong and steady. Of course, red onions are the hot ticket item. Mostly because there is less available on the open market.” He added, “As far as Keystone goes, moving forward, we have adequate supplies of all colors and we’re in good shape. We’re shipping pretty darn good quality, and we haven’t any issues or concerns.” On Keystone’s sweet program, Dan said it has been a typically good holiday season cycle. “We had very good demand for our Mayan Sweets for Thanksgiving,” he said, “Like most holidays past, it tapers off the first couple of weeks in December because consumers have full bellies and turn to Christmas shopping. Then they start picking it back up again, and we saw that last week and this week.” Dan said, “Like hybrids, pricing has been strong, and we have good supplies. I do want to mention a trend we are seeing with major retailers. It looks like more and more they are requesting consumer packs. Fewer jumbos in bulk, and more mediums in bags.” He explained, “There are really more reasons than the obvious ones. Of course, retailers sell more with bags, and COVID started a trend with less consumer handling, but the retailers are getting short of help like everyone else, and consumer packs mean less handling on their part too. Plus, stickers have a hard time sticking to onions and consumer packs reduce incorrectly ringing at the check stand, such as yellows vs sweets, which can screw up inventory management. Then you factor in the home delivery and pickup orders, and it adds just another level of complexity with how bulk onions are dealt with.” He concluded, “So what does this mean? It probably means if you’re selling to retail, it’s an evaluation of seed varieties and planting to make adjustments to meet the trend.”
Dwayne Fisher with Champion Produce Sales in Parma, ID, told us on Dec. 15, “It has been a busy week for all of our facilities both in Idaho and Utah. We are actually sold out for the week. There is a definite need to increase prices as we rapidly approach the new year, and we are quoting $1 up on everything for any new orders for the first of next week shipping.” He continued, “We have also publicly released our new logo this week that demonstrates our commitment to our American Farms and growers! At Champion Produce Sales we are 100 percent American soils, 365 days a year. Our growers can rest assured we won’t bring in foreign supplies that hold back or weaken their domestic supplies returns! As growers, we need to take control of this market and demand that those you are paying to represent your product aren’t also bringing in foreign supplies and understand that the current market versus expenses ratio is not nearly good enough for our American growers!”
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, said on Dec. 15., “Demand has been steady for us this week, and there is better demand on the larger yellows and on jumbo reds.” The market, Steve said, is holding on. “The market has been very steady now the past few weeks,” adding, “The size profiles haven’t changed much all year. I expect colossals and super colossals to be on the tight side all season.” And he said quality has been good all season.” As for transportation, Steve said, “Transportation has been extremely tight and will even be tighter during the holiday season than it has been.” We asked how supplies are holding in the Northwest and if some shippers will be finishing early, and Steve said, “Most people agree the general supplies are down significantly out of Idaho/E. Oregon from last year. Shippers definitely could finish earlier than normal, and some shippers will choose to pace their supplies out longer due to contracts and program business.”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on Dec. 15 he’s still shipping out of Utah and Western Colorado, with Utah still moving all three colors and running through January. Western Colorado is shipping yellows and will go into January.
John Adams with John Adams Produce said on Dec. 15, “The market is a little slow this week, especially my foodservice customers Wholesale customers seem to be having a normal week.” John added, “Usually this time of the year it is a little slow. Considering Christmas coming up, I expect it to pick up next week even with foodservice.” He said transportation is “still an issue that’s not going to go away anytime soon.” And on availability, he said, “From what I understand, Utah is very tight on the jumbo yellows. There are plenty of large medium yellows. We’re just waiting for Texas to kick in.”
Texas Rio Grande Valley/Tampico, MX:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on Dec. 15 the 2022 Rio Grande Valley and Tampico crops continue to come along well. Mexico will start shipping in about a month, and S. Texas is expected to come in late March.
Mexico and Vidalia, GA:
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing in Walla Walla, WA told us on Dec. 15 that Mexico will likely start around the end of January. “Looks like our Mexican growers will start shipping toward the end of January,” he said. “It’s going to be a normal start time. We’ve been planning with our Vidalia growers too, and things are coming along in Georgia for the 2022 season as well.”