Featured image: Carzalia Valley Produce New Mexico crop, courtesy of James Johnson
John Vlhandreas with Wada Farms reported from his Salem, OR, office on Jan. 29. “Demand has slowed this week, but it’s pretty typical for this time of year,” he said. “Years ago, not many people took off so much time during the holidays, and now it seems like there are quite a few folks who take off more time. Then when they return from the holidays, buyers start loading up on orders, and it takes shippers a couple of weeks to catch up. Then about the third or fourth week, things start slowing down because the market is overloaded.” John continued, “Though pricing could be higher, it has stayed at a good level, so when movement picks back up, we should be in nice shape market-wise.” He said jumbos are in good demand. “Jumbo yellows are moving fairly well, followed by mediums,” he said. “We have seen whites increasing on price, so we should see a strong finish for those – probably not as good as last year, but still a strong finish on whites for the Northwest.” John also provided information on the Northwest transition. “By our projections right now, we are about 75 days from starting up in the California desert,” he said. “If Texas stays on track, the transition should be fairly smooth too.” On transportation, he said prices have eased up. “Transportation rates follow demand. Trucks have eased up on pricing and we aren’t having a lot of trouble finding them.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce reported from his Nyssa, OR, office Jan. 29 to say, “Demand has been a little slower this week, but I would say it’s still steady. The higher demand is on yellows, but we still have pretty good demand for reds and whites.” Jason said the market remains steady. “The market is steady right now, but on the marketing side, we need to remember not to fold and adjust prices downward with this temporary period of slightly lower demand.” He also said the quality remains very good, and on the transportation side, he noted, “Trucks have gotten a little tougher, but we just load ‘em when we can find ‘em.” And, he added, “We are on track to go until about mid-April on shipping before we transition to California.”
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, told us on Jan. 29, “Demand is fair this week, which isn’t unusual for the end of January.” He said demand is “fairly even across the board on all sizes and colors,” and he said, “The market has been steady for week.” Baker & Murakami has good availability on all colors and sizes, Steve said, and he added, “Transportation has not been a problem this week getting loads covered.”
Herb Haun with Haun Packing in Weiser, ID, said on Jan. 29 the market has slowed slightly, which he also said is normal for this month. “We’re moving what we need to move,” Herb said, adding that the shed is expected to run until around March 10. “Quality is very good in what we have left, and we still have a few reds and whites,” he noted. “Demand is good, and we’ve seen very little change in pricing in the past few weeks.” Herb said the region has been getting good precip, and he commented that the fields are clear now. “Growers could possibly get into the fields a little early unless we get heavy precipitation in March,” he said.
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said his Corinne, UT, deal has another couple of weeks remaining, and he said the Super Bowl pull kicked up demand last week. “This Super Bowl deal is almost on the same level as Thanksgiving or New Year,” he said of demand. “It’s become quite an important entertainment weekend.” But, he added, “Once the pull was over last week, demand slowed. And now it’s a normal end-of-the-month lull in business. I think it’ll come back next week and the following week.”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on Jan. 29 his growers in the Tampico area are pulling a few onions this weekend, and he said, “We should have onions available Feb. 7 or so.” He said the new crop yellow sweets will be mostly in cartons, and he added, “Once we get going, we should have uninterrupted volume.” Don Ed said whites and reds will be added the week after the yellows start. “We waited for size,” he said. Don Ed also said there’s been “a lot of interest and unusual demand for new crop onions.”
Texas Rio Grande Valley:
Saying the Texas Rio Grande Valley crop is “coming right along,” Don Ed Holmes of The Onion House in Weslaco said the onions “are a little ahead of where I’d like to see them. The crop looks like it could be a week to two early.” He added, “We’ve had just perfect weather here,” noting that cooler weather that’s in the forecast that could slow the crop somewhat. Normal volume start for the 1015s is mid-March.
New Mexico/Chihuahua, Mexico:
James Johnson with Carzalia Valley Produce in Columbus told us on Jan. 29, “The crop process is behind prior years in most overwinter plantings. Wet weather in September kept some out of the fields until later than normal and caused others to have to replant.” He added, “Winter has been wet but mild which has helped, and I haven’t seen much of if any at all winter kill.” As 2020 rolls along, James said, “Everyone is getting ground ready to start planting intermediate varieties in the next couple of weeks. Pretty consistent weekly rain has delayed ground prep, but everyone fell into a rhythm now and getting caught up. I think from what I’ve seen acreage in New Mexico will be pretty close to the same as it was in 2019 – a few growers increased and a few decreased.” As for Carzalia Valley, he said, “Our program stays consistent with Onions52 handling sales. We will kick off our season packing from Chihuahua in May and transition to our own New Mexico crop by June. We will have all three colors, plus sweets, from May1 through September.”
We finish our report this week with a video submitted by Robert Bell with Western Onion Sales. The video shows 2020 Harvest underway in Pukekohe New Zealand.