Trish Lovell with Curry & Co. in Brooks told us PMA was great this year, and she said the market continues to be a bit sluggish. “It was a good show,” she said of Orlando. “We did not have a booth this year, and I found it better for me. I was able to have more meetings without time restrictions. First time in a long time, I was able to walk the entire show. My feet definitely felt it also!” she said. Trish added, “We’re seeing the market is still a little slow. Too many onions are needing to be moved, and we’re hearing plenty of cheap prices out there right now as shippers need to finish up storage and need the room.”
Mike Locati with Pacific Agra Farms and Walla Walla River Packing in Walla Walla told us Oct. 24 is packing “whites and reds primarily, and the Mayan Sweets are coming through as expected.”
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms reported from his Salem sales on Oct. 24, “Due to PMA, demand seems to be off.” He continued, “If you have small onions, you’re in good shape, but when it comes to some of these folks with only larger onions, it seems like a race to the bottom. That said, there is a feeling of optimism out there, and it looks like things on the market are going to turn around. Now that turnaround may have a lot to do with exports, but it needs to happen. And I do think it will. I think we are going to see things straighten out and get into a steady cycle.” John said, “Yeah, there are some days I feel like the grumpy old man on the porch yelling, ‘Get off my lawn!’ Years ago, everyone was in attack mode. Now we all have to be concerned about what’s going to happen with trade issues, the higher costs for petroleum products and even state-level politics, like here in Oregon talking about a tax on groceries. Taxing aside, no one wants to pay more for their food, but they are going to have to.” And he concluded, “Getting all this negativity out of the way, I will say that I hear reports that some areas have scaled back on planting, and that’s positive. And there’s the fact that our quality is awesome. And that’s a good thing. I’d hate to be the one with bad onions with the way the market is right now.”
Dan Phillips with Central Produce Distributors in Payette, ID, told Oct. 24 that Central’s growers completed their harvest last Saturday. “Everything is in the barn and looking very nice,” he said. “The quality for all colors is excellent, which is proven in the pack-outs. Right now, there isn’t much shrink.” Dan said demand is steady. “Despite the PMA, we were really busy last week, and that has continued into this week too. Of course, everyone wants what there is the least of, which is mediums, but overall demand is good for all sizes and colors” He said the market remains steady. “The market is definitely not where we want it, but it’s holding,” The market on mediums is very firm and remains steady on larger sizes,” he noted. Dan said trucks remain an issue. “We are getting what we need, but the rates are still bad,” he said. “And all I can say about our rail program is that we have started to ship rail when we can get cars. I’ll stop there.”
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, told us on Oct. 24, “Our demand has been good so far this week, and we are tracking volume-wise the same as we have the last three or four weeks.” Steve added, “Demand on medium yellows shows that’s still the strong item customers are looking for, and the market has been fairly steady for us.” He said, “We are still turning away some business at lower prices. We have the same customers coming back week after week.” As far as availability, he noted, “We have good availability on all sizes and colors except on medium yellows. And the quality has been outstanding this season.” Hitting on transportation, Steve said, “We are getting what trucks we need at this time.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Produce reported from his Nyssa, OR, sales office on Oct. 24 that “demand has been steady this week,” adding, “It seems that yellows are in the highest demand, but reds and whites are doing well too. And though the market is a little soft this week, I am seeing some signs of improvement, and the market may be moving up.” Jason said that Eagle Eye’s growers in Idaho and Oregon will finish up with harvest this week. “We are really happy with this crop, and the quality is absolutely excellent!” On transportation, Jason said, “So far, so good.” He described attending PMA Fresh Summit show in Orlando last week and working two booths, Idaho-E. Oregon and Eagle Eye. “The show was good for me this year,” he said. “I made very good contacts, and at this year’s event there were a lot of exporters, importers and services represented.”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us Oct. 24 the Corinne deal is on the starting block. “They got everything in the barn last Saturday, and they’ll start running either tomorrow or Friday. By Monday they’ll be going good,” he said, adding, “There’s a lot of demand now.” Don Ed also noted the truck deal in the West is “critical,” and he said the Corinne location has good access to trucks.
Michelle Gurda with A. Gurda Produce in Pine Island told us Oct. 24 that Gurda finished its New York harvest the previous day. “It’s been a tough harvest season this year,” she said. “There are New York growers that are still not finished. The rains during the last two months put everyone behind. We are shipping New York onions, but we are bringing onions from the West too.” Michelle said demand and the market are steady. “Jumbo reds and yellows are easier to come by than mediums, so the medium market is definitely tight and could be edging up. But overall demand and the market has been fairly even across the board.” She added truck availability had gotten better. “Seems like the truck industry has gotten everything ironed out on the ELD issue, so it’s easier to get trucks, but they still come at a cost.”
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum, ID, reported on Oct. 25 that demand is steady. “Last week Monday and Tuesday were good but then tapered off when folks headed out for PMA,” he said. “It worked out perfectly that I had already had a pheasant hunt planned for the weekend. So this week, demand has really picked back up. And it’s good across the board. We are getting orders for everything. We have orders on consumer packs going out and we’re getting a lot of inquiries, and trucks are calling in too.” Rick told us the market is steady as well. “With storage harvest nearly complete and everything under the roof, shippers have a better idea of yields and availability,” he said. “This is helping to tighten up this market, and we’ve been waiting for it for weeks now.” He went on to say, “Quality is excellent too. I am pulling onions from Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Colorado. I even have some Michigan reds available, and the quality across the board on this storage stuff is great. The product is top-notch, and the deliveries have been fantastic. Boy, it’s great to be done with summer onions!”
Texas Rio Grande Valley:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco said on Oct. 24 the Rio Grande Valley deal is “in rain delay for planting, but we still have three weeks for our window.” He noted there’s a good forecast ahead, and the region was catching the remnants of Willa that day. “Tomorrow we’re supposed to have sunshine and then a week to 10 days of good weather following,” he said.
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said growers are still planting in the Tampico area of Mexico, and the Western area has been mostly dry. “Some guys on the coast got very wet,” he said of the recent storm activity that hit Mexico.