Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing in Walla Walla told us on Jan. 8 that the hybrid market appears to be strengthening. “After attending the NOA convention, it looks like there are manageable volumes around the country,” Dan said. “And we have been experiencing a little above average pricing. The market should further strengthen as it normally does. Now with the supplies available, we should see a strong market into late winter and early spring, which is going to be good for everybody.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, reported on Jan. 8 that demand was “exceptional!” He said, “It seems there is a heavier demand for whites, but there has been very good demand across the board. I think the great demand has something to do with Mexico taking more onions from the U.S.” Jason also said the market is steady. “Really, we have seen the market increase, and I think that should continue. We just need to market effectively so it stays that way.” He said quality has been very good, and when asked about transportation, he said, “It has gotten a little tough, but we just get ‘em when we can and make it work.”
Dwayne Fisher with Champion Produce Sales in Parma, ID, weighed in this week. On Jan. 8 he said of the market, “The steady climb continues, and positivity should be the prevailing thought as we move forward with the last half of marketing this crop.” He continued, “Quality in the bag at our place is very good. Without question there is plenty of shrink to keep it that way. I had a customer pass me last week on price because I was in their opinion, ‘too high.’ This week they sent pictures of what they received. Suffice it to say I doubt they go the cheap road again.” And Dwayne said, “Yellows will continue to strengthen as we move forward, and the red market is just waking up to the fact that it needs to get moving. Those packouts are showing signs that the FOBs need to be a lot stronger. Keep in mind the domestic Mexican market on yellows, I am being told, is about the equivalent of $14.00 FOB here!” Dwayne said, “We have the best economy in the world. There is no reason our farms and growers should be selling without some profit!” Moreover, he said, “Our customers are excited about the movement and the chance for them to actually make some money as well.” He also noted, “In Idaho it was announced that H-2A wages are going up 6 percent or 81 cents an hour – and higher than that for our fellow farmers across the river in Oregon. Whether or not we have H-2A workers, our local workers hear of this price and legally have first chance at these jobs; so it does affect our wages for our local employees. Our growing/packing costs aren’t getting any cheaper, and the base/contract prices out of here need to be in line with California and New Mexico moving forward.” He concluded, “Stronger FOBs are great for business. The next couple weeks the demand is historically very good. Better prices and great demand are good for everyone in the world of onions.”
Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Nyssa, OR, and Parma, ID, said on Jan. 8, “I’m getting ready for early Chinese New Year at the end of January. It’s the Year of the Rat.” And, he said, “Demand is decent, and pricing has perked up on yellow and white onions. Reds have been steady.” He said, “At Owyhee Produce we are experiencing pull from the East and restocking after the holidays as well as regular program business.” The shed production and output, he said, are “normal for this time of year.”
Dan Phillips with Central Produce Distributing in Payette, ID, told us on Jan. 8 that demand this week is “excellent!” He said, “Demand is good for all colors and sizes across the board, and it probably has a lot to do with the holidays and the fact that there weren’t a lot of people ordering for about two weeks. Now, buyers are fully back to work, and demand has increased.” According to Dan, also on the rise is the market. “The market is upward bound,” he said. “In fact, I’m not quoting prices for Monday’s orders because the market could be stronger by then.” Dan said quality is good. “Well, packing is not like last year when basically all we had to do is put the onions in the bag. This year, we have to put more time in to make them pretty, and there is more shrink, which takes more labor, but we are getting it done. And the quality in the bag looks good,” he said. He also said it’s been a tough week for transportation. “We aren’t having too much trouble getting trucks, but the rates are higher,” he said. “Part of the reason we are paying higher rates is that there are fewer drivers out there.” He said that “if some decided to stay home after driving over the holidays, they aren’t going to start back up until Monday. That being the case, transportation should get better in the weeks to come.”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us Jan. 8 that the Utah deal is seeing good movement and a strong market. “We’re into very good onions,” he said of quality, and he added supplies will go another three weeks. “It’s moving along well, and the market is still gaining steam,” he said.
Texas Rio Grande Valley:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco said on Jan. 8 the Rio Grande Valley crop is “coming along really well,” and he said we could see some early onions come out of the region in late March.
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said a few cartons of sweets out of the Tampico region could be coming across the week of Jan. 20. Bigger volume, he said, will start up in February.