John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms reported that recent weather “has definitely changed the landscape of the Northwest onion deal.” He said, “We will see if the market increase sticks within the next few weeks. We really haven’t started shipping for the 2017 new year yet, and there are still storms coming.”
Larry Bauman at L&L Ag Produce in Connell said on Jan. 18 that “the Washington deal has had issues with the extended cold, snowy and difficulty in moving onions from storages to packing facilities.” Larry also said he relates to the situation in the Treasure Valley, noting, “When I saw OnionBusiness.com’s news brief last week, it brought back memories of 20 years ago when our brand new buildings collapsed on Dec 31. Kerrick and I really know the pain and financial hits that the Treasure Valley people are having right now.”
Brenden Kent at Sunset Onions in Prosser reported on Jan. 18 that the market this week is doing very well with the shortage due to weather issues. He cited good demand for all sizes and colors, saying, “Whites were tight before the weather hit, and now the demand and pricing is increasing for them. But the demand for yellows is very good, and we have seen an uptick for our sweet too.” Brenden also reported moderate demand for reds, saying it’s still good. “All in all, we are doing well right now,” he said. “The only thing that has me puzzled is the export market. We really don’t have a handle on what is going on there, but clearly the exports this year, are not going to be where they should be.” Brenden also reported that Sunset has had no major weather problems and no damage to buildings. “We have been proactive to make sure the snow is kept off the roofs, so other than weather related transportation delays, we are good here.”
Kay Riley at Snake River Produce in Nyssa, OR, told us on Jan. 18, “There is plenty of demand, but we are operating under extremely difficult circumstances due to the weather. Snake River Produce has way more business than I can handle, but we are not able to operate at full capacity.” Some of the company’s storage onions are off-site, and the epic snowstorms and ice have made transfer of product to the packing shed all but impossible. “We’ve been in these perilous weather conditions for six weeks,” Kay said. “But it’s remarkable that the market has doubled here in 10 days.” He added, “A few weeks ago one of my partners asked me what there is to be optimistic about. The only thing I can see is that when you think it can’t change, it will. You just keep coming to work and getting the job done.”
Chris Woo with Murakami Produce Company LLC in Ontario, OR, reported that this week demand exceeds supply. “The growers and shippers in the area are feeling good about the market, something we haven’t felt in quite a while,” Chris said. “When you see USDA Market News report demand exceeding supply for five days in a row, that is almost unheard of.” Chris also said the market is strengthening for whites and reds and has doubled in price since last Monday. “This is a good shot in the arm for the onion industry,” he said. “The market has been cheap and was too cheap to begin with. You know, I have a saying that ‘a sale without profit is a sale without honor,’ and I honestly believe that’s true. But that’s how it’s been, and finally it’s turning around. You know some customers say that prices are going to go down with the Mexico new crop and the weather clearing up, but I don’t believe that is going to drive the price back down. And they say the weather is going to get better, but I don’t buy it. There are more storms headed this way, and Mexico doesn’t have enough volume right now to make a difference. So for now, the market is very strong and should stay that way for awhile.”
Don Ed Holmes at The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said Colorado’s Western Slope and Utah both wrapped up on Jan. 18. “We had a little inventory and have been covering people as best we can,” Don Ed said. “And there are still plenty of trucks around. All of a sudden the market looks really good. We sold some $8 out of Utah and $9 out of Colorado. Everybody’s looking for onions.”
Don Ed Holmes at The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said first loads out of Tampico are shipping on Monday, Jan. 23. “We thought we’d start this week,” he said on Jan. 18. “Onions are in storage, and they’ll run Friday and Saturday, ship to Texas on Sunday. We’ll have good supplies on Monday. The first are sweets,” he said.