Featured image: Northwest yellow onions, photo courtesy of OnionBusiness
Brad Sumner with Pacific Coast Trading Co. in Portland, OR, said on Oct. 26 his operation continues to ship organic onions out of California and Washington. He said, “Demand has slowed a bit. The market is long on reds, especially mediums.” And, Brad added, “The yellow market dipped a little, and the white market is steady. The red market reflects what size people have and how long they are on that size. Jumbos have slid a bit, but mediums are all over the place.” Quality, he said, has been good. “I have yet to have a quality issue out of our sheds. So far, it’s a great quality year for organic onions for us!” Brad also commented on transportation, saying, “Our biggest lane, Washington to California, is steady, but we will see increases over the next few weeks for sure heading into Thanksgiving.”
Doug Bulgrin with Gumz Farms in Endeavor, WI, told us on Oct. 26 that demand is great this week. “For us, demand has been excellent,” he said. “Medium yellows have been the strongest, but demand overall has been very good all season. Pricing has been very good as well. I think the reason some have been seeing some demand and prices dipping a bit has been due to the lack of information.” Doug said, “We had a delayed crop report, but another crop report is expected to come out on Nov. 1, and I think that will help a lot. I think when everyone sees where we are for stocks on hand, it will help with demand and the market.” He continued, “At Gumz, our season has been going really well. Quality has been excellent, and we have good availability.” On transportation, he said it’s been OK, with some hiccups caused by Hurricane Ian. “When the hurricane hit, we had a few speed bumps, as everyone did, but we worked through it, and I think we are getting back to normal now.” Doug also mentioned that he and his brother Tom are headed to the IFPA convention in Orlando. “We hope everyone will stop by our booth, 4491, and see us,” he said. “I will be visiting with customers about onions, and my brother Tom will be focusing on our potato program.”
Joshua Frederick at Snake River Produce in Nyssa, OR, told us on Oct. 26, “It’s business as usual here at Snake River Produce this week. I believe we will see some increase on business as we start into next month with the holidays coming up and cooler temps allowing more consumption of onions.” Josh continued, “The market has been holding steady considering we are still going to be short on supplies for the season.” He said, “I feel we will see an increase begin in the next couple of weeks market-wise, which needs to happen.” Josh noted there’s been “great demand for whites and reds,” and he said that “once the truth comes out this month on what’s actually been put in storages, reality will hit about the actual shortage of onions in the valley – which in turn will reflect on what supplies for the balance of the season will be put up to cover contracted business verses what’s available for open market.” And, he concluded, “Until then, as Mr. Fisher, our neighbor across the river, would say….. EAT MORE ONIONS!”
Onion Business caught Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, on Oct. 26 as he was running to a connection to make his way to the IFPA convention in Orlando. “Well, I am in Portland and I am trying to make a connection, but I have a couple of minutes,” Jason said, adding, “Oh, by the way, Eagle Eye is booth 2083, so come by and see us!” He went on to say, “Well, the market is steady this week, and the demand is all on yellows and reds. The market is up and down, and I have no idea why! There is no reason for this. It should straighten out here because with the season shaping up how it is, it shouldn’t be fluctuating like this. From where we sit, we have plenty of availability and excellent quality, so come and get ‘em!”
Herb Haun with Weiser Onion Produce in Weiser, ID, reported in on Oct. 26, telling us the market “seems a little more active this week.” He added that colossals are in short supply, and Weiser Onion Produce has about 20 percent of a normal crop’s colossal volume. However, he said, “mediums are hanging in there” as far as demand in all three colors, and the operation also has good supplies of jumbos as well. “Pricing is staying steady,” Herb added, noting that “one buyer told me he expects mediums to rise.” Herb also said transportation has been “pretty good, with more reefers available.”
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, told us on Oct. 26 that demand this week has “still been on the slow side for us,” adding, “Some of it I believe is price-related.” Steve said demand has “been equal across the board on the different sizes and colors,” and he said, “Earlier in the week we did have more people looking for medium yellows than normal.” Steve said, “The market feels somewhat steady. You have two different mind sets at this time. You have some shippers willing to take less while other shippers have drawn a line in the sand and won’t take orders at lower prices.” Quality, he said, “looks very nice at this time,” and he said that trucks are “still more than adequate for our shipping needs.”
Colorado Western Slope/Utah:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on Oct. 26 that his Western Colorado and Corinne, UT, deals are “rolling along pretty good this week,” adding that the IFPA show in Orlando has slowed things down. “But November and December are our best onion months with the two biggest onion holidays, and it’s just a matter of time before it gets very busy again.” Don Ed also said that this year’s onion shortage will be very evident as the season continues. “I don’t think there’s enough onions to go around this year, and the shortage will start to show here soon.” he said. “But right now Colorado is doing really well, with good quality and size. We have the trucks we need, too. And Utah’s all in and running good – and we’re shipping all sizes and colors from both areas.”
Colorado Western Slope:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, told us on Oct. 26 that Western Colorado grower Brent Hines in Delta is “going 100 mph” now. “Size is big,” David said, adding, “We’re short on mediums.” He said overall yields this season are up 28 percent in tons. “We’ve got very good size and quality,” David said. Trucks are “a walk in the park,” he added.
Texas Rio Grande Valley/Tampico region Mexico:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco said his Rio Grande Valley fields have “another two weeks for planting,” and he believes acreage valley-wide will be down for the 2023 crop. In the Tampico region of Mexico, growers are close to being done planting, and Don Ed noted the late plantings are likely for the Mexican market and not for the U.S. “They’ll start off with sweets in January and by Feb. 15 will be getting into more volume,” he said of Mexico.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen told us on Oct. 26 his Rio Grande Valley crop will be 90 percent planted by Monday, and the Tampico area growers have finished their planting. David said he thinks acreage in both areas could be up this coming season.