Featured image: Vidalia crop progress courtesy of Danny Ray with Ray Farms, Inc in Glennville, GA
Matt Murphy with L&M Cos in Raleigh, NC, told us on Jan.13 that demand is good this week. “We are really busy this week,” Matt said. “It’s particularly good for this time in January. Demand for all three colors is high, and the market is firm and on the move. In fact, we are up a buck or two just since the first of the year.” Matt continued, “I wouldn’t say it’s out of control, but the market is advancing on all three colors, and if it continues, come spring we could see an extremely nice market.” He added, “A lot of this push has to do with shortages, and we have to keep an eye on Idaho-Oregon to see what is happening there, but really shortages all over will determine how the next couple of months are going to turn out.” On Washington he said, “As for our program in Warden, we are shipping some of the nicest onions we have had all season, so we are pretty happy with how things are going.” Freight-wise, Matt said it’s still tough. “It’s not like we can’t get trucks. We are moving the onions, but it’s still expensive, and everyone has pretty much settled into these FOB prices.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, reported that demand is high this week. “We are crazy busy this week,” he said. “Demand is extremely good for all colors and sizes. I think a lot of this has to do with onion shortages, but it is affecting the market, too.” He continued, “The market is increasing every day. The truck situation is bad, but we are dealing with it. Just getting them when we can. Quality is decent, and what we are doing now is managing supplies so we can hit our April target for finishing.”
Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Nyssa, OR, and Parma, ID, is busy preparing for Chinese New Year. He said on Jan. 12, “Happy New Year – although I am getting prepared for mine, Chinese New Year, Feb l. It’s the Year of the Tiger.” Chris said traditionally “your employer throws you a dinner and throws in a red envelope with some money and some paid time off. When I was with Murakami Produce I asked for it all, and Mr. Murakami told me no way, that I was working for a Japanese company.” However, Chris said, “He eventually relented and comped dinner for our office team and significant others. He was truly one of a kind. So Happy Chinese New Year to all.” Thanks to Chris for the stellar ‘Year of the Tiger’ photo too!
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum picked up the phone from a chairlift on the ski hill on Jan. 12. “Demand is rockin’,” he said. “It’s ‘Hammer Time!’ Everyone must have run out at the same time, but there is demand for all sizes and colors across the board this week. There are onion shortages out there, and there are some of my smaller growers that are finishing up, but buyers need onions. Right now, I am shipping out of Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Utah, North Dakota, and Michigan, and the quality has been stellar! The market is increasing every day.” He continued, “I am also hearing that Mexico is three weeks behind schedule with significant volume. So Happy New Year and Let’s Go!”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on Jan. 12 his Corinne deal will go “all of January for sure.” Movement is good, he said, on all three colors, and trucks are better this week than last.
Robert Sakata with Sakata Farms in Brighton told us on Jan. 12 grading was being wrapped up. “We will finish grading our onions today! I wish we had more as movement has been strong, and the quality has been good, but the hailstorm we had back in August really cut back our storage crop for this season. I am keeping a few onions around in my office to ward off COVID!” He continued, “Luckily we finally got some snow the first of January, and we keep hoping that it keeps snowing at least in the mountains. My heart really goes out to those families that lost their homes in the Marshall Fire. That fire was 22 miles directly west of us but the 100-mph winds that day were blowing ash two and three inches in size over our facility, and the smoke was so thick you could barely see down the block. It’s hard to believe that over 1,000 homes were lost in just one afternoon due to that wildfire. It makes me feel very thankful, even though our onion season has been cut short.” Our thanks to Robert for his photos: one photo of onions remaining for grading on Jan. 12, and the other of the onions he’s keeping for protection!
Matt Murphy with L&M Cos in Raleigh, NC, told us on Jan.13 that the crop in Calipatria is progressing well. “You know, we are still three months out on our Calipatria deal, so it’s a little early to be reporting, but things are looking good there, and we appear to be on track for an April 18 to 25 start-up date,” he said.
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on Jan. 12 the Tampico start will be “sometime during the last week in January.” He added, “It’s been cool there are here (Rio Grande Valley, TX). We may possibly have whites a little sooner.”
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, said on Jan. 12 he’s still looking at Jan. 20 for first loads out of Mexico, with volume to pick up for all colors in seven-10 days. Our thanks to David and grower Nowell Borders for photos this week.
Danny Ray with Ray Farms Inc. in Glennville reported in on Jan. 12 and said that his crop is coming along well. “We got everything in the ground on Dec. 12, and the onions are growing well,” Danny said. “We will have the same program we had last year, which includes our Georgia Sweet red onions. We’ve had some warm weather, too, so the onions have been responding nicely.” Danny continued, “We’ll have to see how the next couple of months goes. The Vidalia Onion Committee usually meets in March, then we’ll know about the official start date.” Many thanks to Danny for running out today to shoot some photos of his crop for this week’s update.