Featured image: Organic yellows in totes, photo courtesy of Brad Sumner, photographed while on a recent business trip.
Dwayne Fisher with Champion Produce in Parma, ID, reported in on November 15. “The last two weeks movement has been fantastic in terms of demand and continues this week. It’s nice to see daily USDA shipments staying above 400 loads.” he said. “Price has strengthened across the board which has just been enough to cover permanent storage charges that kicked in November 1 for growers and our farms. When you net it out, at this point, the growers/farms aren’t anywhere near being above production costs for the year. More strength is needed, and the positive thing is everything points to it continuing to strengthen on a weekly basis.” He continued, “I read an online article this week about the market and felt like it was spot on. Everyone seems to understand where this thing is headed. Our customers welcome the strength and are encouraged as well with where it appears to be heading. Next week will be a short week with Thanksgiving and that always presents some challenges meeting everyone’s last minute needs. We will also start the following week clean. I except supply to be extremely tight after the Holiday as well. In terms of next year’s crop our fall work is all done, and the bills are rolling in fast. Increases across the board continue to move our production costs up. Fuel, chemicals/fertilizers, labor, insurance, health insurance, seed costs, drip tape, operating interest, repairs, and good luck with equipment replacement costs, you name it, there is an increase. We are paying for next year’s expenses now so it’s a good time to evaluate what our true costs are, not just what “we can do it for”, there is a difference. When we figure it that way, we should be like our insurance companies and want huge percentage increases in our automatic renewal premiums! Wouldn’t that be nice!!! In other increases, trucks have gotten more expensive, but everything is getting covered.” Dwayne ended his report saying, “We wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving and look forward to a positive December and New Year. The market is moving and we should be optimistic for the remainder of the season.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, told us on November 15 that demand has been exceptional. “We have been extremely busy for the Thanksgiving holiday,” he said. “However, if you don’t have it loaded, you probably aren’t going to get all the sizes and colors you might want and in time. Mediums are still on the tights side. There hasn’t been a big rush for whites although Mexico is starting to order more so that could change.” On the market, Jason said, “The market has definitely firmed up and is going in the right direction.” He noted that transportation is getting expensive. “As we all know, during the holidays, freight gets expensive, but we can get trucks when we need them.” Jason ended his report with holiday well wishes. “Here at Eagle Eye, we are very thankful for our great customers, and we would like to wish our industry friends a very Happy and Safe Thanksgiving.”
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms in Salem, OR, told us on November 15 that demand has been good this week. “We’re cleaning up orders, making sure all the trucks get out,” John said. “The rest of the week, we’ll be getting calls; where’s my truck? Then shippers will pack maybe a day and a half next week and it will all be over for Thanksgiving.” He continued, “Don’t get me wrong. Demand has been good, but the holiday pulls are like they used to be. I think people have forgotten what these holidays are supposed to be about. Now, people don’t like to travel as much. They don’t want to get stuck in airports. Families don’t get together as much. There isn’t as much holiday shopping with dinners out and festivities. Now, people are just bored, and they are waiting for the event fairy to bring them the next big thing. Now, it’s online orders delivering the gifts, which brings me to transportation. I live on Christmas tree alley and its already started. Real soon the ocean containers will be done and the rest will be domestic and that along with every other Christmas holiday item will be on the road, so freights will be high and availability will be a little tougher.” John noted, “The good news is, we have seen the market strengthen and that’s good for the growers, and that is what counts. I hope everyone has a nice Thanksgiving and can enjoy it with family and friends.”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX told us on November 15 that business has been brisk. “The markets are higher,” Don Ed said. “The onion market feels healthy, and we are shipping all sizes and colors. We are in good shape here.”
Western Colorado/Mexico (Crop)
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, told us on November 15 that his program in Colorado is finished. “We are done for the season in Colorado and we ended season on a slightly rising market,” David said. “It was a great season. We had strong demand and we never had any transportation issues.” David noted, “Now, we look forward to a Mexico start up around January 15.”
Doug Bulgrin with Gumz Farms in Endeavor provided his report on November 15. “Demand has been normal for the Thanksgiving holiday,” he said. “Quality is great and because there has been such high demand for mediums, we have had good pricing as well.” On transportation, Doug said, “We do have some freight advantage being located where we are, and trucks are readily available.” Doug also commented, “We have a lot going on here at Gumz, with our additions, and we look forward to sharing the latest developments with OnionBusiness.com readers in the coming weeks.”
Lou Getzelman with Canyon Sales Co. on the Hunts Point Market told us on November 15, “Since we last spoke two weeks ago, the onion market has definitely gained a touch of strength like we thought could be the case. Prices are up a touch which is good news for the sheds. No one wants to be selling onions at break-even. With everything in storage now shippers know what they have to sell.” Lou continued, “Nearly all of our shippers have been selling out by the end of the week, demand and supply have balanced out. While some sheds have more onions than others, orders still need to be booked in advanced.” He said, “Business is overall steady. They’re holding prices firm on red onions in Idaho, however it sounds like there may be some more red onions in Washington that sheds are looking to move. If you’re looking for big yellow onions, don’t be shocked to see some price increases there.” On transportation, Lou said, “On the transportation front we are blessed to still be running flatbeds out of Idaho making good arrival back east this week, so over the road transportation has remained relatively cheap. We may be able to squeeze in a few more next week, after that, those loading freight cars will really have a major advantage in terms of pricing.”
Brad Sumner with Pacific Coast Trading Co. in Portland provided his report on November 15. “Organic onion demand nationwide has been steady with a slight increase for the holidays.” He said, “Of course, conventional onion sales go up more for Thanksgiving, but I think Organic onion consumption does not increase at the same rate during holidays. Every color and size is moving at their regular paces. The country’s overall organic red pile is good now, but as I have talked about before, we could see shortages in late February, early March. Yellow inventory is fine.” He continued, “We are pulling organic onions now out of California and Washington. Already talking about Southern Mexico crop in February and Texas crop in March. It will be here before we know it.’ About the market, he commented, “Nothing earth shaking, although red prices will rise in December.” On transportation, he noted, “Rates are simply rising due to the holidays and watch out, here come the Xmas trees.” Many thanks to Brad for supplying this week’s featured image!