John Adams with John Adams Produce told us on Nov. 10 it’s been “kinda a ho-hum week.” He said, “I’m selling more peeled onions to processors than anything else, but I expect more retail next week for Thanksgiving. Transportation continues to be the problem. The big buyers are willing to pay the price, but the smaller stores are not, and we’re trying to get product to the smaller stores.” John continued, “The supply chain is really difficult, to say the least. I think we’ll see a lot of Thanksgiving dinners that are smaller than normal. There’s plenty of product out there, plenty of jumbos and mediums, but transportation is the problem.”
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, said on Nov. 10 he and his Delta, CO, growers continue to see good movement from the Western Slope shed. The market is strong, he said, and onions are in high demand with a good Thanksgiving push. “Trucks still tie up the most resources,” David said about transportation.
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on Nov. 10 his Western Slope and Utah deals are “still all good.” He said, “The market is steady. Trucks are still tight in both places, but we’re moving.” Don Ed had said earlier in the deal he expects to run into January in both areas.
Herb Haun with Haun Packing in Weiser, ID, said on Nov. 10 business has been good. “We’re seeing a little Thanksgiving push, and that’s been nice.” He said supplies are tight, noting, “This crop is definitely short. Quality is very good, and we’re pleased with that.” Haun Packing is running yellows now, with reds and whites available. And Herb said transportation “has not been real bad,” adding, “We’re still able to use a few flatbeds.” With the short crop, Herb said he expects to clean up in February 2022.
Dan Phillips with Central Produce/Eagle Eye Produce in Payette, ID, told us on Nov. 10 that demand has picked up this week. “We have seen demand increase for Thanksgiving this week,” he said. “Really, buyers are looking for all colors and sizes. The market is moving, too. We are on the move.” He continued, “We have seen an increase just since Monday, and it’s working for us. That’s a good sign. We should see good Thanksgiving orders for the rest of this week and into next week, too.” Dan went on to say, “Our quality continues to be great, and so we’re in a good place right now.” But, he added, “On the other hand, transportation continues to be a real pain for both trucks and rail. All I can say is that we load ‘em when we get them.”
Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Nyssa, OR, and Parma, ID, told us on Nov. 10 that marketing pricing is steady and said, “Demand is good for shipping lanes for Thanksgiving usage.” Chris noted the company’s Wicked Sweet tearless red onion program “has not kicked in yet, but it will happen real soon,” and he said about the overall season, “Raw supplies and finished product production are keeping up with one another. Medium and smaller type jumbo sizes on all three colors seem to be popular items for Thanksgiving consumption.” And, he added, “Bon appetite!”
Our thanks to Tiffany Cruickshank with Snake River Produce in Nyssa, OR, for a great warehouse shot – pallets of onions stacked high!
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing in Walla Walla, WA, told us on Nov. 10 that his growers in Washington and the Columbia Basin are running at max capacity this week to fill Thanksgiving orders. “We definitely can’t complain about current demand and pricing,” he said. “We are running full steam to keep up with Thanksgiving business, and orders are for everything across the board.” Dan continued, “I guess, like everyone, if there was one complaint, we could use some more onions with larger size profiles, but then again, I think everyone could say that this year. We really have some great quality, too.” He went on to talk about trucks, saying, “As far as transportation goes, it hasn’t been a huge issue other than it’s very expensive, but everyone knows that.” And he said, “Going into Thanksgiving, we expect to have a strong rush until the week of the 22nd. That week should be fairly quiet. The onion category isn’t something that is a last-minute buy item. As I mentioned, pricing is really good, and I see it remaining strong and steady through the end of the year. Nothing much should change that.” Dan also commented on Keystone’s Peruvian deal. “Currently, sales have been very good and pricing the same,” he said. “Size profiles good and quality in the bag has been good as well.”
Matt Murphy with L&M Companies in Raleigh, NC, reported in on Nov. 10, telling us, “We are running hard this week!” And, he said, “We’re doing a lot of retail business, loading jumbos and smaller in all colors and pack sizes for Thanksgiving. Selling out every day, and I think we might even be done for the week today.” He continued, “On the foodservice side, it’s been steady, but I think retail consumers have gotten the word on this supply chain thing, and so they are really going for it on staples for Thanksgiving – and they are getting everything they need right now. Consequently, we might see the pull subside a little earlier than normal this year. It’s been great though.” Matt also said, “We have heard there is a fair amount of colossals and supers coming in from the EU on the East Coast from New York to Florida. That hasn’t hurt us. It’s just stopped buyers asking us for stuff we don’t have.” On the market, Matt said, “It’s been strong and steady. We don’t have any pushback at all on price, and that’s a good thing. It’s been steady as she goes.” And he concluded, “We have great quality, and our growers are happy. So we’re in good shape. for the holidays.”
Larry A Bauman checked in on Nov. 10 from Othello, WA. He said, “After looking at all of our onions that are stored in the LESS THAN FULL storages at Target Ag Production this week, they seem to be storing well and should have a normal shrink.” Larry added, “The temperature has been higher than normal, which has given us much-needed rainfall but is causing us to run the refrigeration more than normal.”
Robert Bell with Western Onion in Camarillo, CA, shared a crop update from David Kana of NZ Onion Co. on Nov. 10. Along with David’s description of the growing season, Robert forwarded photos of New Zealand ELK, or Early Long Keeper onions. Those are, Robert said, intermediate onions. David wrote, “Well, spring has sprung, and the weather has been perfect for all crops. Temperatures are between 15-23C, and rainfall is frequent.” Robert added, “These guys actually dryland farm ‘rainfall only.’ They can irrigate but do not have the proper infrastructure to do a normal irrigation program like we do, and so frequent rainfall is a necessity.” Our thanks for the photos.