Featured image: Red onions from Hines Delta and Coal creek Montrose, courtesy of David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers
Michelle Gurda with A. Gurda Produce in Pine Island, NY, told us on Nov. 6 that this week has been slower on demand. “It’s pretty typical that this week slows down a bit,” Michelle said. “Buyers are getting ready for the holiday business, and usually things pick up over the next couple of weeks. The demand we are getting this week is pretty even across the board, but the market has dropped some. Both yellows and reds have moved down somewhat over the last couple of weeks, but more on yellows.” She added, “There seems to be more onions available, and that has something to do with it, but another issue is Canada. They really put the pressure on. Particularly, on the yellow category.” Michelle noted that quality is “decent.” She said, “This season’s onions definitely look better than last year.” Michelle said that transportation is about the same. “On my end, I haven’t seen any real significant changes in rates and availability, so all is fairly stable this week.”
Colorado Western Slope:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in Mission, TX, reported in on Nov. 7 about Colorado’s Western Slope, saying he “couldn’t be happier with the quality.” He said, “Movement is really good. We know some of it is tied to Thanksgiving, but we also have an abundance of transportation out here.” Both warehouses, Coal Creek and Brent Hines, are “going full days and full days plus,” he said. Movement good across the board for retail, wholesale and foodservice, with shipments “heaviest to South of the Mason-Dixon Line,” David said. “We’re moving all sizes and colors, and our overall size profile this year is slightly smaller.” He said the volume of jumbos is normal, and there are more mediums than colossals. “We’re just getting started on our storage, and we have excellent supplies for November and December,” David added. View more photos of Coal Creek and Brent Hines below.
Colorado Western Slope/Utah:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on Nov. 6 onions are moving well out of both Western Colorado and Utah at this time. “We’re moving good,” he said, noting jumbos and mediums are both in high demand. “We haven’t had the Thanksgiving pull yet, but that should show up next week.” Suggesting the market could be ready to move up, Don Ed said, “Down the road the prognosis is very good for the onion deal. And right now it feels really good in both Colorado and Utah. Quality is real good.”
Herb Haun with Haun Packing in Weiser, ID, reported on Nov. 6 that his operation is seeing more business for next week. “Business has been steady this week, but we are getting ready for some increased business for the holidays next week,” he said. “Everything seems to be moving equally across the board, but we have seen more demand for whites, which is good. This time of year is great for onions, and more people are cooking at home with onions. It seems more and more creative recipes are getting out there that incorporate onions. too. So, we anticipate a very good holiday season on movement.” Herb said the market is steady. “We haven’t seen any significant changes to the market, and it continues to be holding.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce reported from his Nyssa, OR, office on Nov. 6 to say that business has been steady this week. “We aren’t seeing a big Thanksgiving pull yet, but you have to remember that Thanksgiving is basically a week late this year, so buyers are still in planning mode,” he said. He added that the market is steady and said, “It’s definitely not where it should be. It should be higher than what we’re getting right now.” Jason said the onions look good. “Quality has been very, very good. Now, on the transportation side of things, trucks are tightening up, and rates are starting to climb too.”
Grant Kitamura with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, said on Nov. 6 that all of the operation’s onions are harvested and in good shape. “Our storages are full, and everything fit,” Grant said. “We have very good volume and excellent quality for the season. This year we have normal yields and good size.” Grant added, “Right now our growers are busy doing the groundwork to take care of next year’s crop. Everything here is running smoothly.”
Robert Bell with Western Onion Sales in Camarillo said on Nov. 6, “Harvesting continues in the Salinas and Cuyama Valleys with no rain yet, and quality remains excellent. Size profile overall seems a little down on the later varieties.”
Jason Vee with Vee’s Marketing in Superior, WI, told us on Nov. 6, “My initial sentiment going into this market report was to say things are looking up. I’m seeing increased movement for Thanksgiving ads. Medium yellow and carton sweet movement is very good on my desk. I’m even getting a little pushback from shippers on some items.” He continued, “Those are good signs that the market is strengthening. A little holiday bump would do us good. But then I reeled it back a little after looking at the market reports. I don’t take much stock in the USDA report for market prices. They are just averages. I have market prices all over my desktop that I find more useful. However, those reports are useful for identifying trends.” Jason continued, “Now, without looking at the reports, I would have guessed that U.S. onion shipments from September to mid-October of this year would have been down from last year. That’s probably obvious. And we probably would have bridged that gap over the last two weeks. Well, I was wrong about the latter part. We are consistently 300-500 fewer loads weekly than last year.” Jason provided a link to AMS: https://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/fvdidnop.pdf
and continued, “I reached out to some fellow onion people to ask if I was missing anything obvious. Some think our six-month run of high markets is having a hangover effect on consumption demand. One shipper pointed out that U.S.-to-Mexico shipments are down significantly from last year.” And, he said, “Also, there are more onions nationwide compared to last year. If USDA is missing players that weren’t in the game last year, then their numbers would be artificially low. Opinions differ, but the consensus is the same.” He concluded, “U.S. movement is not what it was last year. So, even though I’m hopeful for a market bump this month, I don’t have high expectations.”
Texas Rio Grande Valley/Mexico:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said planting is finished in Tampico, Mexico, and will be wrapped up in the Texas Rio Grande Valley next week.
Robert Bell with Western Onion Sales in Camarillo told us on Nov. 6 he was “hoping to finish contracting ground on our long-day storage program for next season this week,” adding that “preparation is already underway only need to finalize contracts.” Robert said, “Our short-day Imperial Valley April onions are all in and wet. Excellent warm weather should give us a nice head start. Planting also in full swing in the San Joaquin Valley from Stockton in the north to Bakersfield in the south. I have met some new players in California, so acreages could be up – but this is huge region, and I’m just speculating.”