Featured image: Ireland retail market onions, photo courtesy of John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms in Salem, OR
Lou Getzelman with Canyon Sales Co. on the Hunts Point Market told us on November 1, “The onion market has shown remarkable stability recently, maintaining consistent prices and good availability,” Lou said. “With the harvest season concluded, there has been a slight uptick in price in certain regions this week. Prices, however, have remained reasonable, and you can readily find onions in a variety of colors and sizes with some digging.” He continued, “In terms of transportation, it’s worth noting that flat-bed trucks are no longer a viable option for shipping onions from Washington to the eastern regions. However, there is a glimmer of hope as a few more shipments are expected out of Idaho this weekend. This change in transportation dynamics adds an interesting twist to the market landscape, delivered prices are going to increase forcing receivers to sell their product for more. In NY, the customers who are taking in onions by rail will start to benefit. Let’s just pray those onions on rail don’t take too long to arrive. As we head into the holiday season, there’s a growing anticipation for increased market activity, get those orders in early!”
Rick Greener with Greener Produce provided his report on November 1. “Demand is steady this week, but we haven’t seen much of a holiday pull yet,” Rick said. “I don’t expect to see buyers looking for Thanksgiving onions until the middle or later next week, but business has been steady. And pretty even across the board in terms of colors and sizes. Getting mediums have been hit and miss, but we have been fortunate to have some good supplies out of Michigan and North Dakota. That helps with our Midwest and East Coast customers and also helps with freight to those customers. Quality has been very good, so no complaints there.” Rick commented on the market and transportation. “The market has remained steady, but there are some spot buys out there, but there aren’t a ton. Transportation is still OK. Depending on the lane, we’re still loading some flatbeds, but you just need to watch the weather and plan ahead, and as we get closer to the holidays, preplanning will be the key.”
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, told us on November 1. “We continue to pack all three colors out of storage, and the size profile is very heavy to jumbos. Demand has picked up, and more orders are coming 4-7 days in advance, most likely due to pre-holiday sales.” David also commented on transportation. “Transportation continues to be plentiful and at reasonable rates.”
Western Colorado/Corinne, UT:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on November 1 that his Olathe, CO, and Corinne, Utah growers are going full steam. “Business is very good, and demand is great!” Don Ed said. “Quality is also great.” Don Ed commented on transportation. “Trucks are readily available, but rates do appear to be going up.”
Dwayne Fisher with Champion Produce in Parma, ID, reported in on November 1. “We could learn a few things from autoworkers and the medical industry in relation to the returns our farms are getting!” he said. “The hardest and most important job in the world should demand huge dividends. The week started a little quiet for us but has picked up to normal speeds today and for the remainder of the week. I am shocked to see our neighbors to the north with the same jumbo yellow, mostly as us, and a higher medium mostly on the USDA. The old go to narrative for a weak market/blame game certainly can’t be used. Things need to be and should be much, much stronger. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how we landed at this level with the supply/demand scenario we have, that seems to be confirmed by all published and word-of-mouth sources.” He continued, “I really felt after Anaheim, we got the message from our customers that they never wanted to be at these levels either. It’s a loser all the way around. In terms of the hot spot, medium yellows are in high demand as expected for the coming holidays.” Dwayne ended his report saying, “National movement numbers on the USDA are positive in terms of daily volume consumed nationally. We started production in Utah this week, and transportation seems steady.”
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing reported in from his Walla Walla sales office this week. “You know we had a great IFPA show with a new booth, and I am sending along some photos. The team did a great job,” Dan said. “Back at the sales desk, we have no complaints, and things are running smoothly. We have retail orders on the books for the holidays and POs coming in. We have to prepare early because we have ads going in for our retail partners, and we have to do a lot in advance, so things are going pretty well.” He continued, “Quality looks very good, and just as predicted, movement has picked up. For this same time period, onion movement is above the USDA ten-year average, so that can’t be a bad thing right? And the market appears to be firming up, so we are really not in bad shape all in all. We’ll take it.” Many thanks to Dan for sharing Keystones’ new trade booth. Click image to enlarge and scroll.
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR told us on November 1 that demand has been a little slower at the start of the week but we’re seeing it start to pick up as we get further into the week,” Jason said. “Next week, buyers will most likely start their holiday buying, but you have to remember, we have a good three weeks until Thanksgiving, so we have some time. We are moving all colors and sizes, but we are looking to find some homes for our whites, so if buyers need homes for whites, come and get ‘em!” Jason commented on the market. “You know, this week we are seeing the market firming up, but it is nowhere near where we would like it to be, and we need it to increase so that our growers can have a Happy Thanksgiving. We do see there is room for a trend upward, too.” Jason added his comment on trucks, “Getting trucks is not a problem, but as flatbeds go away, freight rates are going to increase, so we need to prepare for it, and the availability will tighten, but again, we will continue to find the trucks, so no big worry there.”
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms in Salem, OR, told us on November 1 he had just returned from a trip to Ireland, where he vacationed and toured some retail markets. “I am happy to provide a domestic market update this week, because, like most onion sales guys, work never stops, right?!” John said. “However, I am also happy to share some insights from my trip to Ireland and share some photos, too. I could have stayed another day or two in Dublin. It was that impressive, but it was a great trip. I noticed that most of the onions sold in Ireland were from the Netherlands and Holland, with a few from Spain and France. Most were sold in tubes or 16/3’s. Not many, but some were sold in bulk. Most were yellows and reds, and most were mediums and smaller.” John went on to comment on domestic sales. “I expect buyers to act the normal way for holiday sales, which means they will probably start with a big rush next week. I have started to think that growers and shippers will do what they need to do at this point in terms of loads they want to sell and at what price. I can’t fault them for doing what they need to do. Let’s face it. No grower is making money at these prices. But if they absolutely have to sell them for whatever reason, they are going to sell them, and if some shippers can hold out, and sit on them, they are going to hold out and wait. It’s just that simple. I will say on the holiday deal, if you are trying to get 16/3’s and you don’t have a shipper you are already working with, you just might not get any.” On transportation, John said, “Weather has already started out there, so stay ahead of it and preplan. Oh, and rates are going to go up too.” Many thanks to John for this week’s featured image and for more cool Ireland onion retail shots with a few landscape shots below. Click to enlarge and scroll.
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on November 1 that his Texas program is planted. “Texas is finished planting, but acreage appears to be down due to water shortages,” Don Ed said. “Mexico is still planting and should finish next week.