Feature image: Photo courtesy of onion grower, Nowell Borders. Sent to OnionBusiness by David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing reported in on Jan. 19 from his office in Walla Walla, WA. “Well, this week’s demand for hybrids has been good,” he said. “Like it is everywhere, onions are in short supply, freight is expensive, and there are labor shortages, too. Consequently, it does make making business difficult right now, but the upside is the market is firm and rising.”
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms in Salem, OR, told us on Jan. 19 that demand is good. “Demand is good this week,” he said. “Reds rate number 1 on the demand list, with yellows at 1A,” he laughed. “Whites follow all the others. Mostly for mixers. You know, whites never really got that huge for demand this season. We are moving whites, but it’s not in full load volumes. Overall, quality has been good all along, and the is nothing to complain about on anyone’s pack-outs.” On the market side, John noted, it’s strong this week. “The market is strong and has increased, so there are some buyers doing a little gambling trying to keep their supplies shorter, but I really don’t see the market coming off.” On freight, John said it is the same. “Nothing really new to comment on here,” he said. “It seems there may be some trucks that have been more reasonable on rates, but overall it’s still a terrible situation.”
Dan Phillips with Eagle Eye/Central Produce reported to us on Jan. 19 from his Payette, ID, sales office. “Honestly, things have been a little on the quiet side this week as compared to last week,” Dan said. “But demand is still there and the market is steady and increasing. Buyers are still looking for all colors and sizes, with reds being in hot demand because they are in such short supply.” He added, “Freight remains very expensive, and it’s still hard to get trucks. Rail isn’t much better, because those people that can’t get trucks and that may not normally be rail shippers are trying to get rail, and that puts pressure on rail car availability, too. There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight on the freight situation.” Dan concluded, “As far as our programs go, we are still shooting for a normal finish to the season – toward the end of March and the first part of April.”
John Adams with John Adams Produce said on Jan. 19, “Business has been very steady for me more on the foodservice side. Red onions are almost impossible to find right now – just waiting for the stuff to cross over from Mexico into Texas, and we’ll switch over to them.” He said NW suppliers are running low on everything, “but overall business has been very good obviously.” John added, “Trucks are still a problem. You can get trucks, but you’re going to pay for them. Luckily for me, my customers understand.”
Hugo Flores with Fresh Organic King and Pampa Store in Mexico provided us with this recent update. “We are having a slow start with organic white onion on three trucks per week, mainly jumbo (around 70 percent) with some medium (30 percent) on the mix.” Hugo continued, “The pace is increasing, and we predict four or five loads next week, being distributed between our clients on the East Coast and West Coast.” Market conditions, he said, “are very good, with good prices for the 50lbs sack delivered at McAllen. We expect this to be maintained for the following weeks on the organic produce. Conventional prices will soon stabilize.” He added, “We are also receiving multiple requests from our clients to start with the reds and yellows. Pressure is accumulating.” Hugo had said yellows would start in the first week in February, and reds would come in the third week of the month. If conditions are favorable, we are planning to be on the U.S. market until July.” Our thanks to Hugo for sending photos to accompany his report.
Imperial Valley, CA:
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms in Salem, OR, told us on Jan. 19 that Troy Caston Farms’ crop is coming along nicely and the growing weather has been good. “Everything is shaping up in the desert,” he said. “Looks like we may be able to start early, the week of April 15 with 20 acres of reds. That will be a nice change for us. We usually get started with yellows.”
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing in Walla Walla, WA, told us on Jan. 19 that Mexico has started shipping. “The Mexican weather has been a little cool and a little wet, but onions have started to arrive in southern states,” Dan said. “It won’t be until February when Mexico really gets rolling with any significant volumes into the U.S.”
Mexico/Rio Grande Valley, TX:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, told us on Jan. 19 harvest had started Jan. 18 in the Tampico region. Small volume will begin shipping, with size and volume picking up as the month continues. Our thanks for the photos, courtesy of grower Nowell Borders.
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on Jan. 19 that he’s looking to start shipping from Mexico on Jan. 31. “They’re trying for all jumbo and not many mediums,” he said. “We’ll start Mexico with yellow and whites and bring in reds in three weeks.” South Texas, he said, “looks really good. Onions are on time for the last week in March.” He said weather was moving in, noting, “We’re getting cold tomorrow for five days.”
Thanks to Robert Bell with Western Onion in Camarillo, CA, for sharing photos of a new intermediate day hybrid from Tasman Seed being grown by New Zealand Onion Co. This onion has high tolerance to pink root and Fusarium, his report said.