Featured image: El Centro, CA conventional onion crop, photo courtesy of please credit Jesus Macias – Production Manager – West Valley Packing
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, reported in on Feb. 15. “For us, demand has been steady this week,” he said. “Buyers are looking for jumbo yellows and reds this week. Colossals and supers are moving well, and medium yellow in bulk is pretty hot because of the price difference between jumbos and mediums.” On the market, Jason said it’s declining. “Unfortunately, it looks like the market is trending downward. Mexico is bringing more onions across. February is typically slow. Plus, you have some shippers on the fence trying to decide whether to stay in it or blow and go. So the declining market is no surprise there, but it’s not good for our growers, that’s for sure, particularly when our quality is holding up so well.” Jason continued, “For us, our onions are in good shape, and we’re in it for the rest of the season.” On transportation, Jason said it’s good. “It’s been easy to get trucks, and rates have even come off a little lately, so all’s well there.”
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms reported in from his Salem, OR, sales office this week, saying, “Our company is shipping out of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon this week, and demand is a little off.” He added, “According to the movement on USDA Market News, we are coming up on 100 loads a day out of Mexico, and that may have something to do with demand being off in the Northwest, but that’s not all. Typically, February isn’t huge for onions, so really it’s not a huge concern. February is a short month, and we can always look forward to March picking back up for onion sales. It has had an effect on the market, but not a lot.” John said, “Quality is still very good out of the Northwest. We haven’t had any issues to speak of with our shipments, so we’re in good shape. Though I’ve heard people talking about finishing up in the Northwest, I don’t see anyone finishing or trying to finish.” He added, “We’ve made it through the major weather patterns in terms of packing onions, and buyers should expect an extra day or two depending on the lanes for onions to arrive because of storms across the country and transportation issues getting onions where they need to go.”
Chris Woo weighed in this week to say, “Super Bowl done, so it’s back to business. A few of the smaller Idaho-E. Oregon sheds are winding down for the season’s ending.” He added, “Demand is light, and the market is steady. And he noted of the area, “We still have decent supplies of all three colors, mostly jumbo size or better. What is being packed up and shipped is still in great shape.” Transportation offerings, Chris said, “are plentiful, and rates are not as high as they once were, making our area still a great place to buy from.”
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, told us on Feb. 15 that demand has dipped. “Demand is off from what it has been the previous few weeks,” he said, adding that so far this week “there doesn’t seem to be any one color or size that is in greater demand than others.” Steve also said, “Prices have gone down this week from last week’s pricing – the exception being medium yellows, which remain steady.” Quality, he said, “has been nice on the onions we are packing.” And he noted, “Trucks have been plentiful this week.”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, reported on Feb. 15, “We’re rolling along with Mexico, and it has been pretty good the last several days. It does look like it might drop off again, though.” Don Ed said a fair amount of smaller sized yellow Tampico onions, which are finding a good market in Europe, could have affected overall tonnage, although he added, “We haven’t noticed it here in Texas” as larger sizes have come into the U.S. He added, “It could get interesting around the corner with this.” And he said for the rest of this week and next week he is expecting a little lighter volume for yellows and reds. “Whites are staying steady,” he said.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, told us on Feb. 15, “All the early guys in Mexico are going full blast.” David said he’s seeing “good sizing and yields,” and he said, “Movement is a little slow but improving, and that region is seeing lots of exports to Europe.”
Brad Sumner with Pacific Coast Trading Co. in Portland, OR, told us on Feb. 15 that demand was very sluggish. “The market is a little saturated and there is no extra business to be had,” he said, adding, “As far as February goes, it’s typical and dull. No excitement happening for organic onions right now. We have finished our California crop and are only shipping out of the NW now.” Brad also said, “There isn’t really one color or size selling better than another, and honestly, organic onions are the in the unique position where jumbos and mediums are just as important and wanted. The need for a stickered jumbo and consumer pack medium is fairly equal.” On the market, he said, “The white market has picked up a little because of lower volumes. Yellow prices are all over the place depending on each sheds inventory and business.” On quality, he noted, “Quality remains good, a little more shrink, but the sheds can get it out. This time of year, internal issues become more prevalent. An onion can look fantastic on the outside and once cut rotten in the middle.” And he added, “Plenty of trucks, fair pricing on my WA to CA lane.”
Texas Rio Grande Valley:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco said on Feb. 15 the Rio Grande Valley crop continues to progress well. “It’s looking good,” Don Ed said. “It was 91 degrees yesterday, although cooler weather is expected this weekend. You can tell we’re getting close to the first of March because the fronts are weaker. We could use some rain, though.”
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen told us on Feb. 15, “South Texas is coming along, but I still don’t see the crop coming in early.”
Danny Ray with Ray Farms Inc in Glennville, GA, told us on Feb. 15 that his family’s crop is coming along nicely. “We got through a cold snap, and now we have nice growing weather, and it’s in the 70s this week,” he said. “The onions are doing great, and you can see them growing almost daily. It’s early, but we are on track for harvest.” Danny continued, “We have a new Commissioner this year, Tyler Harper. He is in his first term. I don’t know how start-up will be handled, but I assume it will be the same as in past years, where the official start date will be selected for the sale of Vidalias. I am not sure how our new Commissioner will handle it. I’m sure we’ll get all the details as we get closer.” Danny said, “All looks to be in good shape, and we’re keeping the same program we had last year.”
Mexicali, MX and El Centro, CA
Mike Smythe with West Valley Packing reported in on February 15, saying the crop looks good in both Mexicali and El Centro. “We visited our onion crop in Mexicali this week; most of our flat sweet yellows and reds are in Mexico,” Mike said. “The crop looks good, but our onions in Mexicali and El Centro will be a week later than last season. It’s been cooler than normal on both sides of the border.” Mike added, “The overall crop is progressing well, and there won’t be a hurry to start onions from both growing areas this season.” He continued, “We hope to start no earlier than the week of April 24th.” Many thanks to Mike for sending photos this week; he credits the photos to Jesus Macias, Production Manager at West Valley Packing. The photos are on the US side and are conventional onions. Click the image to enlarge and scroll.
Baja California, Mexico
Brad Sumner with Pacific Coast Trading Co. in Portland, OR, told us on Feb. 15 about his company’s grower’s crop in Baja, California. “I visited our grower in Baja California and looked at their Organic onion crop,” he said. It’s a beautiful growing area right on the coast. The first transplants are rooting and look good. The next two sets of seedlings looked great and were getting lined up for planting. If all goes well, we will have onions in a finished package the first week of April. Many thanks to Brad for sending photos from his trip. Click the image to enlarge and scroll.