Washington/Idaho-E. Oregon/Mexico/S. Texas:
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms reported on several areas this week, saying in the Northwest demand has been light but “normal for this time of year.” John said, “That all will start changing next week. This is a good time to get caught up on paperwork and desk stuff because when it hits, it will hit hard.” He said “Quality out of Idaho-E. Oregon continues to be just fine. There have been no issues, and what is going into the bag is nice quality. It’s good that this time of year we have cool nights to help the onions continue to store well. I think it’s also a good reminder to buyers that there are still good storage onions coming out of the Northwest.” Regarding Mexico and S. Texas, he said the areas are just starting up. “It’s very light now, but we are quoting the new crop and in a couple of weeks it should be standard supplies.” Transportation, he said, has been readily available, “but there was flooding that caused some route delays for Washington product. They’re getting that cleaned up.”
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, told us on Feb. 19, “Demand for us is tracking about the same as it has been the previous three or four weeks, and demand for colossals and super colossals has been stronger this week than for other sizes.” About the market, he didn’t hold back. “The market has been sliding lower the past two weeks. Truthfully, I’m trying to understand why as an industry we are allowing this to happen. We were able to raise the market in January. The industry must have been comfortable with our holdings to make a move to increase prices in January,” Steve said. He continued, “So why is the industry letting this market slip? The onions didn’t have babies in storage and multiple. If anything, increased shrink will decrease your holdings. Steve went on to say, “Movement was good the month of January. So what factor changed to put pressure on lowering prices? Mexico? Since Feb. 1 through Feb. 17 Mexico averaged a little over 23 loads a day crossing into the U.S. It’s pathetic as an industry that we would allow so much hype and so little volume dictate a drop in prices and blow up a market.” He concluded, “There is nothing new about Mexico coming in this time of year. Seems perception and psychology are driving the market, not supply and demand. Again, ‘pathetic’ is the nicest thing I can say about the slide in the market.”
Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Nyssa, OR, and Parma, ID, said on Feb. 19, “Weather our there is cold, clear and dry.” And, he said, “Demand is just so-so due to the crummy weather back East and a few people staying close to home to around the flu bug going around.” Chris added, “FOB is reasonably priced out for customers to keep coming our way as well.” Chris said the company continues to pack all three colors, and quality is “super-duper.” And, he said, transportation shortages and freight rates are a “non-factor.”
Dan Phillips with Central Produce Distributing in Payette, ID, said on Feb. 19 that business “continues to be steady,” noting that demand “may have picked up a bit – but with increased demand, the market has come off a little this week.” Dan said there have been enough crossings out of Mexico to make a difference. Central, he said, “continues to put nice onions in the bag,” and Dan said cold February nights have helped keep that quality good in the storage onions. “There is still very good quality coming out of the Treasure Valley,” he said. Dan also said transportation has been readily available, and rates have come down as well recently.
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said volume out of Mexico remains light but steady. “We have good business today,” Don Ed said on Feb. 19. “The quality out of Mexico is excellent, and we have all sizes, all three colors and all packs.” He said volume will increase in March.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in Mission said on Feb. 19 the Mexico movement is “really good, and quality is outstanding.” David noted that “all shippers in the northern district are in production,” and he added, “This is driven by quality, both appearance and internal. We would like to see higher prices, but I don’t think that will happen for a little while.” Southwest Onion Growers has all three colors and all sizes, he added.
Doug Bulgrin with Gumz Farms in Endeavor told us on Feb. 17 that the market “has been steady, and demand seems to be increasing and regions are finishing.” Doug said Gumz Farms is shipping only yellows, heavy to mediums and jumbos.
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco said on Feb. 19 the Rio Grande Valley crop continues to grow and look great. The deal could start early in March.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in Mission said on Feb. 19 his crews “expect to start harvest process next week in a light way, and we will be shipping by March 1 or 2.” He said full production will kick in a few weeks. David also said Wintergarden is coming along nicely, although that area is one of the few that is not ahead of schedule. A normal May 1-5 start is expected.
California Imperial Valley:
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms said he had a nice visit recently with Troy Caston of Troy Caston Farms in the Imperial Valley. “Just in the last two and a half or three weeks the onions have really taken off,” he said. “They have one-inch bulbs now, and the good weather has helped. It looks like they will have a very nice crop. They’re about 60 days from start-up, and we’re already working on contracts, which makes everyone feel very positive about the season in the Imperial Valley.”