Don Ed Holmes at The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said volume is starting to pick up on his Mexican deal. “This week has been bigger than last week, and next week will be bigger than this week,” he said. He said pricing had readjusted on whites and yellows downward, but he noted that late January is “not traditionally a heavy buying period.” He added, “It should get better. We’ve seen some new guys coming in out of other regions in Mexico with whites. There are more of them this year.” Sizes were smaller in the early part of the season, but “as we get into the main season, the profile will pick up.” Don Ed said, “The Mexican market is trying to get better.” And the month early start for Mexico should mean a month early end of that deal, he noted.
Marvin Davis with Tex-Mex Sales in Weslaco said his company’s Mexican deal is going well, “but right now what we have coming across is not quite as big as it should be.” He said, “We do expect that as shipments continue, the size profile will also increase.”
Brenden Kent with Sunset Produce, LLC in Prosser told us demand is off this week and the market has slipped. “We are in the normal late January/early February blues,” Brenden said. “When we get closer to Valentine’s day, we should see things start to turn around, but this is an unprecedented year. With the Treasure Valley storm collapses and Mexico coming on two weeks earlier than normal, we will really just have to wait and see. As for Sunset, we have high quality onions and will be shipping into mid-May. Our sweets will be available into early March.”
Herb Haun at Haun Packing in Weiser, ID, told us demand and the market have slipped this week, which he said is very typical. “I have been in this business for over 40 years, and I can’t remember a time that demand hasn’t slipped at the end of January and the first part of February,” Herb said. “Typically demand increases after this normal slowdown, so I expect by next week things will be picking back up.” Herb reports that Haun Packing has all sizes and colors available. “We have a few whites, and I have to say that the quality is looking amazingly nice,” he said. Herb also commented, “Since the demand slowdown happens each year, there is really no reason to go down in price. Lowing the price isn’t going to create more demand.”
Chris Woo with Murakami Produce Co., LLC in Ontario, OR, told us it’s been a “very interesting week.” He said demand and market pricing have slipped, and he added, “Weather has moderated in the Northwest, which was restricting movement and production.” He said, “That, together with the fact that Mexico is coming across earlier than normal, means the market has dipped to between $8 and $9. You know it used to be that Mexico didn’t start shipping until mid-February, but they have started moving them already, and they have been aggressive with pricing.” Chris said quality is still very good for the onions Murakami is shipping, and he is hopeful the two-week celebration of Chinese New Year – “a big event for my people” – will give demand a shot in the arm. He said, “Chinese New Year celebrations are big for onions in foodservice and retail. Chinese cuisine utilizes a lot of onions, and it is a great opportunity for customers to take advantage of it.” When asked about forecasting the market in the near future, Chris said, “All I can hope is that when I read the OnionBusiness report next week, everyone comments that the market is steady!”
Trevor Frahm with Frahm-Fresh Produce in Ontario, OR, said after his operation’s recent building collapses, the shed is up and going full speed. “This week we are seeing demand and the market off a bit, but this is totally normal and expected,” Trevor said. “Availability of our own onions is low because of the lost onions in the collapses, so we are almost out. However, for now, we have all sizes in yellows and reds.”
Don Ed Holmes at The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us his company is finished in both Colorado and Utah with the 2016 crops.
Bob Sakata at Sakata Farms in Brighton said on Feb. 1 the onion market picked up in his operation’s final few weeks of the 2016-17 shipping season. “All that disaster in Idaho and Eastern Oregon changed the market, and we’re at $10 for jumbos and $7 and $8 on mediums.” Bob added, “We’re done shipping this week, which is early for us.” He noted that severe weather in 2016 reduced his company’s onion volume.
Doug Bulgrin at Gumz Farms in Endeavor, WI, told us the market had slowed slightly this week, and prices were somewhat higher. “Medium yellows are moving best,” Doug said.
Marvin Davis at Tex-Mex Sales in Weslaco told us the Rio Grande Valley crop is looking “beautiful.” “We have had ideal weather conditions, and the crop looks great,” Marvin said. “If anything, we may have the Texas crop come on a little earlier than normal because of the great weather we have had.”
Don Ed Holmes at The Onion House in Weslaco said, “The Texas crop is progressing nicely. We normally start around March 25, and we could start as early as March 10. But Mexico should finish up a month early, so it ought to work out.” He said weather in the Rio Grande Valley on Feb. 1 was perfect – “It’s 82 out there, and there’s a light wind off the Gulf. It’s about as nice as it could get.”
California Imperial Valley:
Photos sent to us late last week by Western Onions show a nice crop near Brawley, with no weather damage from recent California storms.