Featured image: Tri-color pack by Minkus Family Farms, photo taken from a recent Instagram post. Be sure to check out this post and others in December’s Instagram highlights in this week’s Enews edition.
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms in Salem, OR, told us on Dec. 21 that “This week there really aren’t many orders because there isn’t much to sell.” He said, “There are a lot of shippers shutting down production on Friday and they won’t start up again until Tuesday. They are doing program business, but if they aren’t working on Friday or Monday they won’t be running enough onions to sell on the open market. Of the demand that is, buyers are looking for jumbo yellows and last-minute retail consumer bags.” On the market, he said, “It’s been holding steady, and that’s good, but I was offered Mexican whites this week out of McAllen, so it looks like Mexico is coming, and coming early.” On weather, John said, “This upcoming storm is a concern. When I-80 closes and you can’t get through Wyoming, you know you’re in trouble. Add to the fact that if you have a shed in the Northwest that is being hit by these storms, and you have to bring your onions on from any distance at all, you’re going to think twice about whether you want to bring onions in at 16-degree weather.” He added, “And that’s not the worst of it. We’re looking at some wind-chill factors of minus 10 degrees in some areas. A shipper isn’t going to risk bringing in onions or workers, for that matter, at those low temps, and with ice-packed highways. So, it’s something buyers need to be thinking about when placing orders. You’ll need to allow plenty of time for production.”
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum, ID, told us on Dec. 21 that “Demand was good at the start of the week.” He said, “Today it’s trickling off. Basically, ordering is over. Maybe there is program business, but that’s it for the week. Everyone is basically checked out. It’s Christmas!” And he said, “Christmas demand was good on retail packs and on larger sizes for all colors.” On quality he said, “Quality has been great in all areas.” He noted he hasn’t heard many complaints on the market. He said, “It’s been holding steady at good pricing for weeks now. Who knows what will happen after the first of the year, but no complaints so far.” On transportation, he said, “If you do have trucks on the road, you will want to watch the lanes you’re sending your onions on. Thirty-seven states have weather alerts on the upcoming storms, and that can’ be good.” Rick ended his report with an exuberant, “Merry Christmas and Happy 2023 to All!”
Paul Reeping with Riverfront Produce in Payette, ID in on Dec. 21. “Demand is a little lower than what we would expect,” he said. “We are moving all sizes of reds and yellows, but large jumbos seem to be in higher demand than others.” He noted Riverfront’s quality remains good. “We’ve been fortunate all season. Our quality has been very good.” Marketwise Paul said, “The market has been consistent. However, I think come the first of the year it looks promising for some movement upward.” When asked about Riverfront’s plan for holiday shipping, Paul said, “We’ll be shipping right along… Open all week, including this Friday and Monday.” He added, “Oh, we’ll be sure to take a break Saturday and Sunday.” We also asked Paul about the upcoming storms. He said, “Buyers haven’t expressed much concern, and really, it shouldn’t have a huge impact on business.”
Dan Phillips with Central Produce/Eagle Eye reported in on Dec. 21 from his office in Payette, ID, this week. “Demand has slowed up a little this week,” he said. “With it being the few days before Christmas, buyers are being cautious with their inventory. Mediums have slowed a bit, but there is good movement for all other sizes.” He commented on Central’s quality. “For this stage of storage, we’ve been really happy with the quality going in the bag.” On transportation, Dan said, “Though it seems that weather is always a topic of discussion, the upcoming storm hasn’t had an impact on whether buyers are ordering or not.” Finally, on the Market, Dan noted, “The market is in a good place and has been for a while. It’s steady and holding.”
Chris Woo weighed in on Dec. 21 from Ontario, OR, and told us “Action is fairly active. Everyone is trying to get their orders out before the long weekend.” He continued, “I think most of the sheds will be off Monday after both holidays, and the sheds with limited supplies will take the whole week off in between our joyous holidays.” On the market, he said, “Pricing is steady for remaining supplies of all colors.” He noted, “We’re seeing good sizes and very few quality issues if any at all.” He ended his report with Christmas wishes, “Hope everyone has behaved this season and they receive what they truly deserve.”
Colorado Western Slope/Utah:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on Dec. 21 that his company is shipping out of Colorado and Corinne, Utah. “We have about a month to go to Utah and about two weeks to go in Colorado,” he said. “We’ve been very happy with the season in both areas. Quality has been very good. We’ve done really well for Christmas movement.” And he said, “We might have a few orders come in Friday for the first of next week, but most people are in Christmastime mode now, which is fine. I wouldn’t expect you would find many available trucks to move onions over Christmas.”
Texas Rio Grande Valley/Tampico, Mexico:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on Dec. 21 the South Texas and Tampico crops look good. “We should start up our Mexico program around January 15 in a light way. We’ve had a great growing season there and in Texas too. It will be a smooth transition for us from our Colorado and Utah programs.” Don Ed commented on upcoming weather. “Texas is expecting some winter weather,” and he said, “The crop is dormant right now, and though the area is expecting some severe winter weather, the growing stage is currently where any adverse weather won’t have a negative impact on the onions.”
Steve Gill with Gills Onions in Oxnard, CA, said on Dec. 21 “Our storage crop quality and quantity are strong.” He added, “For the 2023 growing season, I was in Brawley, California yesterday looking at our crop. This growing region is on track for mid-April harvest.” And he said, “We also are continuing to plant in Bakersfield, California.” Many thanks to Megan Jacobsen for sending the fun photo of Steve at the Gills Onions Christmas party. Who wouldn’t love an onion sign like that?!