Our friend Megan Jacobsen at Gills Onions in Oxnard told us on Nov. 6, “We are wrapping up harvest this week in King City, CA, now.” And, she added, “Onion quality and size for our later onions has been excellent.”
Jared Gutierrez with Columbia Basin Onion in Hermiston, OR, told us demand on Nov. 7 “has been good with the push of the holiday coming right along.” He added, “Everything seems to be moving with medium yellows gaining more attention.” On market conditions, Jared said, “The market could be better, but maybe this market we are in now is what will keep things in perspective. Hopefully, with the holiday rush, we will see some more strength filter in.” Availability is “good in all colors and sweets in both conventional and organics with good quality coming out of storage,” he said. And Jared noted, “Transportation so far has been good. I’m sure we’ll see the real challenge coming soon as the holiday season gets closer.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce reported from his Nyssa, OR, sales office Nov. 7, “Demand is a little slower this week than last, but we are expecting a really nice Thanksgiving push next week.” He added, “Yellows are still moving really well, and we are loading mixer volumes of reds and whites, so it’s not bad. We have all sizes and colors available, but mediums remain very tight.” Jason continued, “On the market, I would say it’s steady, but we’re still not happy with the pricing. With the onset of the holiday season, we’re seeing transportation tightening, and pricing is starting to creep up too.” All that aside, he said, “With the stellar quality we have, we’re anticipating a really great holiday season.”
Dan Phillips with Central Produce Distributors in Payette, ID, told us on Nov. 7 that demand is somewhat quieter than last week. “Demand for us was huge last week but has tapered off some this week,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong. It’s not severe, just a little less than last week. While I think some folks ordering last week were doing some advance planning for Thanksgiving, we think that this week it could just be the calm before the storm.” Dan noted movement on yellows is better than whites and reds. “It seems that jumbo yellows and jumbo reds are moving well, but whites have evened out a little,” he said. He added that Central has availability in all colors and sizes. “Like the rest of the valley, we are tight on mediums in all colors. And when it comes to the market, we are holding at less than desirable prices.” On transportation, Dan noted that Mother Nature has affected trucks out of the valley. “It’s been a battle all along, but we were cruising pretty well being able to load flatbeds,” he said. “Now that we are getting freezing temps at night, transportation has tightened right up.”
Ken Stewart with Asumendi Produce in Wilder, ID, told us Nov. 7 demand has been “excellent on smaller onions, especially medium yellows.” He continued, “Demand on larger onions in all colors is normal, and we’re feeling the holiday push on smaller sizes. Business is good for us.” The market, he said, is steady, and he added, “We are still optimistic with world conditions that there’s room for an upward trend, and we’re always glad when our neighbors in the Northwest export.” Ken noted that transportation continues to be an issue, saying, “It’s tight with both trucks and rail.”
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, reported to us on Nov. 7, “Demand has been very good for us this week, which isn’t any different than the previous six to eight weeks.” On demand, Steve said that medium yellows “still seems to be the tightest item most of the time,” and he noted that the market has been “fairly steady again this week.” He continued, “We still keep running into cheaper prices on jumbo yellows, [and] we keep turning down those offers. I’m a little surprised that since onions are in storage, shippers are willing to drop their prices. With the increased cost associated with going into storage, I would think at the very least shippers would hold the market.” The veteran onion shipper added that Baker & Murakami has good availability and “very good quality,” and he said going into the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday period, “We are starting to see trucks tightening up this week.”
Colorado Western Slope/Utah:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on Nov. 7 that movement “is awesome out of both places, and we’re sold out through Friday.” He said, “It feels like it’s getting better with this kind of action,” and he added, “We’re even short on jumbos.” Business is good in both locations, and Don Ed said, “Quality is excellent.”
Doug Bulgrin with Gumz Farms in Endeavor took time from his busy schedule on Nov. 7 and told us, “Movement on medium yellows is very good this week with above-average pricing.” And don’t forget to spend some time chatting with Doug and other NOA officers at the convention in Maui the end of this month.
Rick Minkus with Minkus Family Farms in New Hampton told us Nov. 7 he wished he was already on the plane for Maui and NOA. “It is ridiculously wet here,” he said. “We finished harvest two weeks ago, and the way the fields looked when we finished is the way they look now. We haven’t been able to get any field work done whatsoever.” Rick said the crop ended up being about 30 to 40 percent off. “I would rate the quality as fair to fair,” he laughed. Minkus is now bringing most of their onions out of the Northwest. “Demand this week is really flat,” Rick continued, “It’s not bad, but it’s just not really too exciting. I think buyers forgot to look at their calendars. It’s going to be a mad dash to get what they need for Thanksgiving when they finally do.”
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum, ID, told us this week has been steady for business. “We are loading the standard volumes this week with jumbos and colossals, with retail mixers in all colors,” he said. “Some folks may be trying to get ahead of the Thanksgiving push, but it’s going to get busier.” Rick also said the market is steady, but he noted that freight is jumping up. “I got a quote this week that was 75 cents higher than last week,” Rick said. He noted that he is very pleased with his availability out of Idaho, Oregon, Utah and reds out of Michigan. “The product is absolutely beautiful, and the deliveries have been fantastic. It should be a great holiday sales season.”
Texas Rio Grande Valley/Mexico Tampico Region:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said crews finished planting in the Rio Grande Valley on Nov. 7, and he noted the crews in Mexico were also finished with direct seeded and would wrap up transplants Nov. 7 or 8.