Featured image: Imperial Valley, CA organic onion crop progress, courtesy of Mike Smythe with West Valley Packing
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms reported in from his sales office in Salem, OR, this week. “I am shipping mostly out of Washington, and the company is shipping out of Washington and Idaho. I’m not super busy this week, but I wouldn’t say demand is slow, either,” John said. “Overall demand is steady for this time of year. Buyers are primarily looking for jumbo yellows and I would say demand for jumbo whites has fallen off due to Mexican whites crossing, but all colors are moving OK.” On the market, John said, “Right now the market is stable and strong without a lot of weakness to it, and it seems like business as usual. I do have buyers looking down the road and trying to cover their needs once the Northwest winds down. Processors are making sure their needs are covered, and buyers are looking at the future. We do need to keep our eyes on the weather down south. There haven’t been any severe weather patterns on Mexico or Texas, so that tells me there could be a lot of onions coming. We never know for sure. The NOA report shows we are down overall on onions, but we can never be totally sure about that report. You just never know, and it’s a wait-and-see game. There may be some growers holding onto their product to wait and see what might happen, but given the lack of anything catastrophic happening with the weather down south, it might not work out this year.”
Dan Phillips with Eagle Eye Central Produce in Payette, ID, told us on Jan. 11 that demand has been normal this week, given this season. “For the onions we have and how the season has been going, our demand this week has been normal,” Dan said. “We have been keeping our customers happy moving yellows and reds, and the quality in the bag has been good. The market for us has been steady too, and it has been for some time.” On transportation, Dan said it has yet to rebound after the holidays completely. “The holiday freight got a little tight, and just like every year, it takes a while for drivers to get back on the road from vacation and for everything to even out, and though things are better, it hasn’t completely rebounded.”
Paul Reeping with Riverfront Produce in Payette, ID, weighed in on Jan. 11. “Regarding demand, boy, this week we’re getting hammered,” Paul said. “Buyers are mostly looking for big stuff, colossals and supers, but we have availability in all sizes of yellows and reds.” On the market, Paul said it remains strong. “Some buyers may be a little skittish about the new higher pricing, but we believe there is an overall shortage of onions, so it’s warranted, and our quality remains very good.” On transportation, Paul said, “Transportation has loosened up quite a bit since the holidays, so that’s good.” Paul concluded his report with a comment about the 2023 Potato Expo, held Jan. 4-5 at the Gaylord Rockies in Aurora, CO. “We attended the Potato Expo last week, and it was a very successful event,” he said. “We feel extremely fortunate to be able to serve buyers in the onion and potato categories, and I have to say that if any of our industry friends are looking for a wonderful destination to visit, the Gaylord Rockies is worth the trip.”
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, told us on Jan 11. the Tampico crop has started to ship very light volumes of sweets, with movement to pick up a little more next week. “The sweets will increase in volume, and by Feb. 1 we’ll have all colors, size and packs.” David said sizes on the Mexican onions are trending big. Our thanks to David for the photo of grower Nowell Borders’ first field harvest taken on Jan. 11.
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on Jan. 11 the Tamaulipas crop harvest had begun, with most of the onions going to retail sweet sales. The Onion House will begin its Mexico loads the week of Jan. 23 with rounds, he said, and all colors and sizes will be in good volume Feb. 5-10, with supplies steadily building.
Texas Rio Grande Valley:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco said on Jan. 11 after a cool spell leading up to Christmas, growing weather in the Rio Grande Valley has been good, and the crop is looking great. “Texas could have onions mid-March,” he said, adding, “The crop here is just beautiful.”
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen said on Jan. 11 that recent cool weather in the Rio Grande Valley and extended warm weather in Tamaulipas, Mexico, could make for less of an overlap in imported and domestic supplies this year. “We’ll probably have some light volume of Texas onions in mid-March, with volume coming in early April,” he said.
California Imperial Valley:
Mike Smythe with West Valley Packing provided his report on the Imperial Valley on January 11. “The onion season looks to start around the week of April 16th in the Imperial Valley,” Mike said. “California has received a lot of rain over the last two weeks; this area hasn’t received a drop of rain.” He continued. “Growing conditions in Imperial Valley have been favorable and the onion crop is progressing well. All 3 colors of onions plus flat sweet yellows and reds will be available this season, both organically and conventional.” Mike noted some additions to the facility. “This season, we are opening a cold storage shipping facility so we can combine organic and conventional potatoes with our organic and conventional onions.” And concluded his report by saying, “We look forward to the upcoming season in mid-April.” Many thanks to Mike for the featured photos of Imperial Valley organic onion crop progress.