Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing in Walla Walla told us demand for company’s hybrids out of Washington has been steady for this time of year. “The pace has been a little slower than normal, but when you look at 10-year averages, it’s really not alarming because we are on track with traditional movement trends,” Dan said. “People have to remember that there are a lot of onions out there right now, but the upshot is we have outstanding product to sell. And it appears that the weather is on our side, too. With what looks to be a wetter and cooler than normal spring, that is definitely going to be in the storage guys advantage.” Dan said that Keystone’s hybrids quality is excellent.
Dan Philips with Central Produce in Payette, ID, said on Feb. 22 that demand has been steady this week. “The market has been slipping,” Dan said. “The good news is we have absolutely excellent quality coming out of this valley. When customers are looking to switch to new crop, it’s usually quality issue, and the fact is we have outstanding quality which helps customers stay with us.” Dan said Central has all sizes of yellows and reds available.
Dwayne Fisher with Champion Produce Co. in Parma, ID, reported that his company is in full swing packaging after the recent winter storms. “We are down a little on product that was lost during the bout with the storms, but we are packing at full capacity, we have availability in all colors and sizes and the quality is excellent,” Dwayne said. He noted demand is steady, but the market is seeing pressure on pricing due to the Mexican onion crossings. “We have a very loyal customer base that know how well we perform, and they are staying with us, so we aren’t concerned about switching,” Dwayne said. “But it is a little troubling when onion imports are crossing when there are plenty of American onions on the market. And while customers aren’t switching, it’s dropping prices. That’s a concern. You know, the Pacific Rim buys American onions when they need them. We should be buying imports when we need them, and we just don’t need them.” He said, “I will say that I am optimistic that the our new president will take measures to level the playing field for American family farms. With the strong dollar and the ability for Mexican growers to make a higher profit, something really needs to be done at the government level if the American farmer is going to survive.”
Ted Brasch with Crescent Fruit & Vegetable, LLC. in Edinburg, TX, said his company started shipping Texas onions three weeks ago. “I have a captive audience right now since I am the only one shipping out of Texas, Ted said. “The quality is very good, and right now all of our Texas onions are going in cartons.” Ted will have Texas onions at least until June 2, he said.
Ted Brasch with Crescent Fruit & Vegetable, LLC. in Edinburg, TX, told us demand for Mexican mediums is very good this week and more jumbos are crossing as well. “We had a very good week last week with a lot of crossings,” Ted said. “I expect to be shipping Mexican onions through the end of March.”
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing in Walla Wall, WA, reported demand for Keystone’s Peruvian Mayan Sweet has been steady, and he expects to see good movement for the remainder of the Peruvian season, which he said should come to an end in the next couple of weeks. At that time Keystone will transition to its Mexican crop.
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing in Walla Walla, WA, said as soon as Keystone’s Peru program ends, the company will make a seamless transition to Mayan Sweets out of Mexico. “Customers that are purchasing our Mayan Sweets out of Peru are going to be getting the same premier Mayan Sweet they are accustomed to from our Mexican Sweet program,” Dan said. “There are a lot of different sweet varieties coming from Mexico, and we are using the same seed varieties that we use in Peru. So, while there are some slight differences in growing conditions, it will be very hard to distinguish the Mexican Mayans from our Peruvian sweets.” Dan said quality is outstanding, and Keystone’s growers have had excellent growing conditions this season.
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing in Walla Walla, WA, said that company will be well positioned to make the transition between its Mexican Sweet program and Vidalias with no gaps. “We have a great crop coming out of Vidalia this year,” Dan said. “And we are fortunate that timing between all of our sweet onion growing regions is aligned so that we won’t have any gaps, which will make the spring transitions easy for our customers.”
California Imperial and Central Valleys:
Gerry Valois and Robert Bell from Western Onion in Camarillo both weighed in on the California onion crop. Gerry said harvest in the Imperial Valley should start around April 20, and conditions have been excellent in that part of the state. “Harvest could start a little earlier, depending on the weather,” he said. Robert noted that overall, the state’s rain has “been good for us,” and he said, “Our reservoirs are not full yet.” Close, though. Gerry noted some farmers in the Central Valley have been slowed down in planting due to rain, and there could be a gap in some areas in late June or early July. Robert said on Feb. 22, “This month we’ve had 11 rainy days, 11 dry ones and the next storm due this weekend. Sun was out today for a change.”