Brenden Kent with Sunset Produce in Prosser reported in to us on Nov. 11, saying, “I believe the market is doing pretty well, all things considered at this point. Demand is brisk, and smaller sizes are still enjoying the greatest demand at this point, which is somewhat normal for this time of year with the holiday season upon us.” He continued, “All three colors are moving well, including the sweets, and we expect that to continue. Quality continues to be good this season overall and things look good moving forward.” Brenden said, “Transportation appears to be the biggest challenge moving forward. We expect trucks to remain tight through mid-January at this point and maybe beyond. Hopefully, things will loosen up after that.”
Matt Murphy with L&M Cos. in Raleigh, NC, told us on Nov. 11 that demand is steady. “Demand has been good this week,” Matt said. “It really hasn’t changed a whole lot in the last several weeks. Due to extremely high freight rates, we do see buyers trying to buy from shippers that are located as close as they can get to the area they serve.” He went on to say, “Since our Kansas deal has wrapped up and our Colorado deal is winding down, we are shipping about 85 percent of our onions out of Warden, WA, and we are doing our best to find trucks.” And, he added, “Quality has been excellent, so that’s good.” On the market, Matt says it’s also holding steady. “The white market is doing well, and availability is tight. Reds are inching back up too. Yellows are holding, but with this freight deal being so high, buyers are trying to get better onion pricing so they can get a lower overall delivered price. There not much we can do about freight and the market is holding. Needless to say, it’s a real struggle,” he said.
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum reported that demand is good this week. “Demand is steady, and the holiday orders are kicking in,” he said. “We are shipping onions out of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Colorado. The quality is very nice. Nice tight skins and great color. So as far as quality goes, it’s all good.” Rick said the market is holding steady right now. “The market is pretty good and holding,” he said. “The Food Box Program has been renewed, and the holiday stuff is moving. So, we are in good shape to ride this out if everyone can get trucks. And on this truck deal, I am telling all of my customers to place their holiday orders this week. We have to allow plenty of lead time to get a truck. Regarding retail, we need to give shippers enough lead time for production too. Everyone ordering needs to be prepared to pay the shot for freight. Some quotes are coming in at $8,500 for a Northwest load to New York. Uber was giving quotes at $11. It looks like freight isn’t coming down any time soon.” Rick gave a holiday shout out for our readers. “We here in COVID County, ID, wish everyone a happy and healthy start to the holiday season!”
Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Parma, ID, and Nyssa, OR, weighed in on Nov. 11, “Happy Veterans Day to all of our veterans, especially to all who are working in this dynamic produce industry. Thank you for your service,” he said. Chris went on to say, “Phones calls coming in aren’t ringing off the walls, but we had decent demand for Turkey Day pulls, along with some program and box business, and also getting some export for Mexico out. So, all in all, this week will be decent.” He added that Owyhee Produce is “trying to utilize and maximize our full potential on managing the utmost for sales term and conditions to provide not only the best returns to our growers while providing the best delivered pricing as well as the highest quality to our fine customer base – as well as keeping our truck connections happy.”
Utah/Colorado Western Slope:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on Nov. 11 that both Corinne, UT, and the Colorado Western Slope deals are going well. “We’ve got trucks, and we’ve had really good business,” he said. “The quality is good in all color and sizes at both places.”
Colorado Western Slope:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, told us on Nov. 11, “Demand is really strong right now. We’re shipping from storage, and everything is well-cured and clean – very good quality.” He noted, “With transportation, we’re getting by, but it’s tough. A lot of people are wanting to not take the risk of a transportation shortage and are ordering heavier and earlier.” The Western Slope onions will run through the holidays and possibly into early January, David said. “Our goal is always to be done by the end of December.”
John Harris with Paradigm Fresh in Fort Morgan told us on Nov. 11, “Markets are very steady this morning. Freight continues to be a mystery on a daily basis and rates are unbelievably high. We are working hard to source regionally to try and take some of the sting out of the freight. In the end we are all in the same boat and ultimately the consumer will pay for the higher prices in the end. Quality seems like it’s better across the board this year from last and so that is good news.”
Tampico, Mexico/S. Texas:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, told us on Nov. 11 that the crop in Tampico is coming along well and should start shipping the last week of January. “The onions look good,” he said. “Everyone is happy with the crop health and age. And in S. Texas everything is up and growing. The weather has been very cooperative in both areas.”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on Nov. 11 that growers are almost finished planting in Tampico, and the Texas onions are all in. “We’ve had really good weather in both places,” he said. Mexico is on schedule to start with sweets in late January.