Featured image: Walla Walla crop progress, photo courtesy of Michael Locati with Locati Farms and Pacific Agra Farms
Bronx, New York:
Lou Getzelman with Canyon Sales Co. on the Hunts Point Market told us on June 6, “Perhaps there was a slight dip in demand this week – the market was doing really well there, increasing for a few weeks and that seems to have at least leveled off to some degree.” Lou added, “We’re shipping from Georgia, North Carolina, New Mexico and California this week. There was a good amount of buying following Memorial Day weekend, and it looked like people had their bellies full this week on the terminal market.” He said, “The onion market is still relatively strong, but there are enough onions around. With New Mexico pretty much full steam and Central California ramping up, there’s only going to be more supply.” He continued, “Medium yellows are still tight, and there was good size starting out coming out of New Mexico. Colossal users were able to secure some good buys.” And he said, “We still had a good chunk of red onions available this week from the Northwest, but I expect that to be all gone come Sunday night. Buyers on the East Coast will continue to look into Georgia for reds and now have to start pulling more reds from the West.” Transportation, he said, “remains very smooth and it’s been pretty rare lately not to be able to secure a truck. Rates are pretty well-established right now, and hopefully there’s not too much volatility there this summer aside from the holidays.” Lou said quality out of North Carolina “has been the best we have ever seen out of that region, noting, “It’s similar to what we saw from our New York state growers this past season, and it’s nice to see that local growers here in the East are getting more and more adept growing onions. Our receivers continue to be interested in quality over everything, and when we’re shipping from the West that is critical. It’s a long trip on a flatbed, and we have to have confidence that the onions we’re buying for our customers are able to make the ride. You’re often paying a premium for that, but it’s well warranted with a summer onion.”
Our friend Robert Bell and new grandfather (congrats on granddaughter Alina born May 8) told us on June 5 Camarillo-based Western Onion will finish harvest in Brawley this week and wrap up packing there in a couple of weeks. “There is an anticipated gap before we start in the San Joaquin Valley,” he said. “Everyone I’ve been speaking to has gaps and late onions due to our wet winter, so the season will be a bit disjointed, but everyone is anticipating the strong market to continue its upward trajectory until the Northwest gets started.” Robert said he will be making a seed trip to the Northwest starting July 3.
Imperial Valley, CA/Texas/Arizona/ New Mexico:
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum, ID, told us on June 7 that demand is good this week. “We are seeing good demand and filling orders out of California,” he said. “We are also moving Mexican onions crossing three points through Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. Onions shipping out of New Mexico are just getting started, so we will be selling those as well. All colors and sizes are in high demand, but mediums continue to dominate and are in short supply. Consequently, pricing is strong. Honestly, the market is strong across the board, but it’s a little hard to understand why the market isn’t higher. I do know the market isn’t falling off, and it’s not expected to, so that’s good.” Rick noted transportation is running smoothly. “Freight’s good these days. Depending on the lane, we’ve been able to load some flatbeds, but all is going well,” he said.
Imperial Valley, CA/New Mexico:
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, told us on June 7 that his team is very busy this week. “Demand is very high, and we are busy moving onions out of the Imperial Valley and New Mexico. We’ll be in the Imperial Valley for another week, and we are in full swing out of New Mexico. Both areas have all colors and sizes available. I will say medium yellows are tight, and the market reflects it. Right now the market on medium yellows is matching jumbos. The market across the board is strong and steady. All good news for where we’re at in the season.” He added, “After we finish up with the Imperial Valley here in about a week, we will move up to the Central Valley. The crop looks nice, and we expect a smooth transition.”
Imperial Valley, CA/Washington/Texas:
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms reported in on June 7 from his Salem, OR, sales office. “I have still been able to ship a little bit out of Washington this week,” he said. “A few loads from Mexico crossing through Texas, but most of the onions are coming out of the Imperial Valley. California should have a good season this year. The Imperial Valley started out late, but with two growers out, they didn’t go down on acreage, and they still have three growers in it with two more weeks to go. Now, you look at the 10-day forecast, and it’s beautiful weather. That puts them at June 16, just where they need to be before the Central Valley comes on.” He continued, “California’s been able to take advantage of a good market this season too. Yes. It should be higher. But gone are the $4, $5, $6 markets that we were experiencing not too long ago. And let’s face it – there isn’t a grower in the country that’s going to make it on a $6 market anymore. And when some of these brokers go out and negotiate these $6 contracts thinking they are going to get a grower to bite off on that and take the deal, they are going to get another think coming. A grower can’t do it. It’s interesting to because a $6 market was the market in the 1950s.” John said, “At any rate, there is a good market now, and it looks like it should stay that way. We should have a good easy-going summer with good transitions and nice quality.”
Texas Winter Garden:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen told us on June 7 Mother Nature has thus far been very agreeable in the Winter Garden region. “Quemado (literal translation ‘burned’) as of June 6 has not had a 100-degree high yet. Temps in the 60-88 range have allowed us to extend our season more easily,” he said. “We have about 10 days of large yellow white and red onions remaining for 2023.” Our thanks to David and grower Nowell Borders for the great photos. Click the images to enlarge.
Michael Locati with Locati Farms and Pacific Agra Farms told us on June 5 he’s getting ready for harvest and the 2023 Walla Walla Sweet Onion shipping season. “We’re starting harvest on Saturday,” he said. “The recent heat wave brought everything on. Should see us in stores for Father’s Day!” Michael’s Walla Walla Rosés are expected to be ready for July 4. Our thanks to Michael for this week’s featured photo!
Colorado Western Slope:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, told us on June 7, “Colorado is on schedule. There have been some inconsistent weather patterns but nothing harmful or lasting.” He continued, “All three colors are up and growing towards a Labor Day start.”