Brenden Kent with Sunset Produce in Prosser reported on March 1 that demand is strong this week. “Actually, our demand last week exceeded expectations for this time year, and we had to run a little harder to meet the orders,” Brenden said. “This week, demand is very good and considered normal for springtime.” He said demand has been good across the board for all sizes and colors, and the market is steady. “Customers are happy with the quality of the product, and they are feeling more confident about buying,” Brenden said. “We are optimistic about the market.” Brenden said recently Sunset has seen a little more opportunity for exports.
Chris Woo with Murakami Produce Co. LLC in Ontario, OR, reported that prices are stable. “Demand has been moderate, but we have loaded a lot of trucks this week,” Chris said. “Hopefully, the heavy shipments from Mexico will be over soon, and it will free up the pipeline for IEO shipments.” Chris reported quality is very good. “What is going in the bag is the best quality I have seen in years for this time of the season,” he said. Chris added, “This week I would say we are a worldwide shipper. We are sending onions to Japan. We’re buying loads out of Mexico and buying loads out of Hermiston, OR, as well.”
Herb Haun with Haun Packing in Weiser, ID, told us March 1 that demand has been very good this week. “There has been good demand for all colors and sizes, but we have seen an increase in demand for colossals and supers this week,” Herb said. He said the market is stable, and “Our quality is absolutely excellent. That’s the one thing about the cold winter. It’s been an excellent year for storage.”
Cal Parker with L&M Cos. in Raleigh, NC, reported on its IEO deal that demand has been steady this week and fairly even across the board for all colors and sizes. “Quality has been good,” Cal said. “We haven’t had any issues.” Cal said that the market has settled, and he noted, “It looks like we are seeing it level out.”
Cindy Elrod with Peri and Sons in Yerington said on Feb. 28 that the 2016-17 Nevada season will run through March 25, and she added the new crop planting will begin March 15.
Ryan Fagerberg at Fagerberg Produce/ Fagerberg Farms in Eaton told us on Feb. 28, “We are finished sorting our own product. However, we still have some onions remaining on the floor from our final run.” Looking to the 2017 crop, Ryan said, “Weather permitting, we will begin planting in about three weeks.”
Don Ed Holmes at The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said it’s “steady as she goes” with the Mexican deal. “Medium yellows are up, and we’re expecting Peru to dwindle, which will mean there will be a little play on sweets.” He said this year’s numbers are “super interesting” and cited USDA crossing data for YTD 2016 v. 2017. “Shipments year to date out of Mexico a year ago were 2,667. This year 4,523 have crossed. But when we’re talking about them starting a month early, they should finish early. Two of the bigger Mexican growers are finished, and another is generally contracted. So there are two big outfits left. One is getting started, and one is about half done.” Don Ed concluded, “March is going to be interesting. Mexico is further shipped than we thought, and movement has been pretty good. We keep thinking that things will get better around the next corner, and they just haven’t yet.”
Cal Parker with L&M Cos. in Raleigh, NC, said the company is moving onions out of Mexico. “There are a lot of customers interested in new crop,” Cal said. “But we are seeing that shipments are tightening up for mediums.”
Mike Davis with Tex-Mex Sales LLC in Weslaco, TX, reported his company is approximately halfway done with the Mexico deal. Mike said Tex-Mex will be shipping for this coming month and finishing up. Quality overall has been very good, and sizing so far has been mixed, trending toward smaller onions. But he added that in coming weeks bigger onions could be coming across. Mike said he foresees the market trending upward in the next month.
John Shuman of Shuman Produce in Reidsville, GA, reported to us that the Vidalia industry has experienced favorable growing conditions again this year. He said, “The fall was very warm with lots of sunshine, and plant beds held up very well. We did experience heavy rains in December, but transplants recovered well. With this very mild winter — temperatures 8-9 degrees higher than average — we have seen a strong stand of Vidalias. There is minimal disease and bacteria pressure at this time. Pending weather conditions of course, we could be in for a repeat of last year’s high volume and quality crop.” John continued, “Due to excellent growing conditions and above average temperatures, we are very excited about the potential and marketability of an early season. The Vidalia Onion Advisory Panel met with Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black on Feb. 28 to set the start date for this year’s Vidalia season for Wednesday, April 12.”
Don Ed Holmes at The Onion House in Weslaco said he will start shipping Rio Grande Valley onions March 10. “Texas is getting ready,” he said. “We will clip Monday, March 6,” he said. “The crop is really nice looking. I think there are less acres in the Rio Grande Valley than a year ago.
Mike Davis with Tex-Mex Sales LLC in Weslaco reported the Texas crop is looking excellent and Tex-Mex sales will begin its Texas 1015 season next week.
James Johnson with Carzalia Valley Produce in Columbus said on Feb. 28 that the new crop “looks excellent.” James said he could be harvesting a week or two early, which would be the second or third week of May. “We’ve had a fantastic winter and early spring,” he said. “The spring seeded crop looks amazing and is about 80 percent emerged at this point.”
California Imperial Valley:
Cindy Elrod with Peri and Sons in Yerington, NV, said that the El Centro area has “gotten rain, although not as much as up north/San Joaquin Valley,” and the Peri and Sons Imperial Valley onions “actually liked the rain.” Cindy added, “The crop is progressing well, and the onions appear to be where they need to be as far as the growth cycle. Tops look good and healthy, and the weather is warming up and should be mid 80s by the weekend.” Peri and Sons is projecting harvest to start around April 18-20, she said.
California San Joaquin Valley:
Cindy Elrod with Peri and Sons in Yerington, NV, said the Firebaugh planting was wrapped up Feb. 28. “We finally finished today,” she said. Rains in the region delayed planting by about three weeks. “We’ll be planting the long days on March 4,” she said.