Featured image: South Texas red onions, courtesy of Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce Company
John Vlhandreas with Wada Farms reported from Salem, OR, office this week. “We are still shipping out of Washington, and we should continue into the third week in April, and possibly longer,” he said. “Though demand is slower somewhat, it’s still pretty good this week. At least onions are still moving, and they are moving from all areas, which is a good sign. The slowdown could be due to a lot of different factors – the market, more regions coming onion and the list goes on. But the USDA market report seems to be on track, and onions are moving. The market remains steady too, which is also good news. We did get a little relief on trucks, and we can still get them, but rates are jumping up.”
Idaho-E. Oregon/S. Texas:
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, gave us his report this week while on the road looking at onions near McAllen, TX. “We are finished up in Washington, and we have another two weeks to go with Idaho-E. Oregon,” Jason said. ‘We are only shipping reds and yellows out of our Nyssa shed, and we started shipping all colors out of S. Texas.” He continued, “Demand is good this week, and it’s been pretty even across the board for the colors buyers are looking for. I am in McAllen this week looking at onions, and buyers seem to be pretty good with making the transition. The market remains steady, and there aren’t any signs of pressure of the market coming off at all.” On transportation, Jason said trucks are loosening up. “Freight rates are still high, of course, but we are definitely having an easier time finding trucks.” Many thanks to Jason for sending recent South Texas onion crop photos.
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum provided his report from Costa Rica this week. “We are wrapping up our Northwest shipments as fast as we can,” he said. “Seventy-five percent of the Northwest growers we work with are done and done early. Luckily Texas came on early, and we’ve been able to ship all colors and sizes out of there.” Rick continued, “We are still shipping out of Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Utah, but we are trying to make a smooth transition south. Availability on yellows and whites is good, but reds are tight, and that goes for the Northwest and Mexico and Texas.” He added, “Buyers also need to be reminded that they aren’t going to have the same onion that they have been getting. Look for papery, flaky skins. It seems like we always need to reeducate when we make the transition at this time of year.” On the market, Rick said it’s steady. “The market is steady and really isn’t coming off,” he said. “I do want to mention that trucks are tight in South Texas, so buyers need to plan. Also, rates on reefers and flatbeds are pricing out the same. The only difference is going to be the number of bags you can load.”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on March 23 his Mexico deal is still “rockin’ and rollin’,” although it is on the back side now. “We’ve got this week and next.” he said. “Mexico is pushing hard, and Texas is coming in, and Idaho is getting out. The market is easing a little, but it’ll work itself out.” Don Ed also said trucks are tighter than they had been the past several weeks. S. Texas will start shipping the first week of April, he said.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, said on March 23 his operation will be transitioning from Mexico to S. Texas in the next five to six days. “Right now we’re running all three colors out of Mexico.” David said foodservice demand has been “really, really good.” On transportation, David said it had tightened up recently.
Texas Rio Grande Valley:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco said on March 23 his Texas crop was two weeks away, and he said everything is on time to correspond with the end of his Mexican deal. “Quality is excellent in the Texas crop, and we’ll have all three colors,” he said.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen told us on March 23 his Texas crop will start next week with all three colors and a good mix of sizes. “We’re heavy to jumbos with enough mediums and enough colossals,” he said. David also said his Eagle Pass deal will likely start and end a bit earlier this year than normal. That deal, he said, grows whites on the Mexican side of the border and yellows and reds on the U.S. side. Our thanks to David and grower Nowell Borders for the great onion photos taken March 22 in the Rio Grande Valley.
Danny Ray with Ray Farms, LLC in Glennville told us on March 23 that the crop is in good shape. “The crop is coming right along and we will have plenty of onions for the official April 12 Vidalia state date,” Danny said. “We have been out in the fields and we have started digging up some early varieties, and we could have some early yellow Georgia Sweet week after next. Our reds come on after we get started with yellows, so look for us to start our red program around May 1. We have a very good crop this year. The fields look good and we should have good sizing as well.”
Imperial Valley CA:
John Vlhandreas with Wada Farms in Salem, OR, told us on March 23 that Troy Caston’s crop looks good, and the operation will be ready to go in April. “We originally thought we could get going a little earlier, but as it stands now, it looks more like April 25. We could possibly start-up on April 22 so we can assess the line and work out any kinks so we can be fully rockin’ on the 25th, but either way, it’s around the 25th for an official start.” John said the crop is on track. “Everything looks great to this point,” he said. “There has been some talk about seeders in the Imperial Valley, but I was just down there, and I didn’t see fields with seeder issues. Of course, none of that matters. In the end, we give the customers a great pack, so any seeders that come in here in the last few weeks won’t have any impact.’
James Johnson with Carzalia Valley Produce in Columbus said on arch 23, “Spring seeded crop has emerged and looks great! Fall seeded might be a little behind, far less acres than last season, and I’ve seen some damage around the edges of not only my own but other growers from fall grasshoppers. We’ve been cool the last several weeks so things just haven’t shifted into overdrive yet.”
Many thanks to Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Parma, ID for sharing a recent photo of planting with drip tape in the Treasure Valley.