Featured image: planting in the Bakersfield growing region, courtesy of Megan Jacobsen with Gills Onions. Photo taken by Jose Cardona with Rio Farms
Colorado Western Slope:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on Nov. 16 his Colorado deal is going great, as is his deal in Corinne, UT. “We’re rolling along, and business is still really good,” Don Ed said. “Trucks are light, but we’re getting it done.” He said Colorado pushes hard in November and December, with November being the biggest month for the onion industry. “We have good volume for both months, and we should be close to done in January and February,” he said of the two areas. “In Utah volume is down a little, but that plays well with the labor shortage, so it’s all working out.”
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, said on Nov. 16 that there’s “plenty of demand” for Colorado onions, but he added, “January temperatures in November have resulted in a limited supply of insulated trailers. The trucks can load everything they need in other areas, “without coming across the mountain.” The situation is expected to be short-lived, he said and added, “We will be behind when we start up again on Monday.”
Dwayne Fisher with Champion Produce Sales in Parma, ID, told us on Nov. 16, “A week later the election is ‘mostly’ over. and one thing we know for sure is that our costs won’t be going down. The direct quote of “not changing anything” gives us a clear vision of what we face as growers and packers.” Dwayne continued, “In terms of demand, the last three weeks have been good movement for us. This week is not as robust as we had anticipated, but I think that has to do a lot with the trucking situation. Prices of onions across the country went up this week. Unfortunately, it’s because the delivered price has moved up.” He added, “Inventories tell us you better move up on price, but everyone just seems OK with where we are at. We need to be much more aggressive getting higher returns to our farms and grower. The potato guys have figured it out. Once we get some momentum happening, it should be really positive.” And, Dwayne said, “It has felt like a heavy week for Idaho and our office this week. As alumni and with children who have been and who are at the University of Idaho, our thoughts and prayers are with the families and student body that are mourning over the senseless violence that took the lives of four students. May we all be a little more thankful for our families now and this coming year.” He concluded, “Have a happy Thanksgiving, and cheers to creating some momentum in this market!”
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, said demand remains good going into Thanksgiving week. “Demand has been fairly consistent with the same customers we have been shipping to the past for to five weeks,” he said. “The medium yellows were in higher demand at the end of last week and the first of this week. Retail Thanksgiving business was pushing that demand, and that will probably back off some as we get closer to the holiday next week.” Steve said the market “for the most part seems steady,” and he noted, “Most of the growers out of Idaho-E. Oregon are bullish on the market for the long term.” Quality has been good, and Steve said, “The appearance looks very nice so far this year.” As for transportation, Steve said trucks are “starting to get a little tighter. With colder temperatures, reefers are the only safe way to ship this time of year. Rates are increasing slightly from the previous couple weeks.”
Dan Phillips with Eagle Eye/Central Produce in Payette, ID, told us on Nov. 16 that demand is steady this week. “There has been plenty of Thanksgiving demand,” he said. “We have all the demand we need servicing program business and our regular customers. All colors and sizes are moving well, with the exception of medium reds. There must be plenty of that color and size out there because demand is light for those.” He added, “The market overall is strong and holding. It makes us wish we had more onions. Who would have thought we would have had a light crop last year and we would be off our volume again this year? We are doing well though.” And, Dan said, “Quality looks good, and we are moving everything we need to move.” When asked about rail transportation, Dan said it’s been rough. “We have had a difficult time getting cars. We’ve been told that they are adding cars, but we don’t know when. It has been hard to get rail so far, so we’ll just have to see what happens.”
Chris Woo weighed in on Nov. 16 to tell us, “We have been kind of busy for the Turkey Day pull, and mostly we’re looking for wheels..” He added, “Demand is decent, and the market is steady on all three colors – so it’s status quo.”
Shay Myers with Owyhee Produce was busy in Washington, DC this week working on behalf of farmers supporting the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. In a LinkedIn post, Shay encouraged supporters to join in supporting the bill. We know for some it’s hard to live with, but it’s pretty hard to live without food too. The USDA is predicting that in 2023, FOR THE FIRST TIME, the USA will be a net importer of food. Do we really want to rely on other countries to feed us?”
S. Texas/Tampico, Mexico:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on Nov. 16 that crops are all in across the Texas Rio Grande Valley and the Tampico, Mexico, growing regions.” We have really good stands in Texas, and everything is looking good in both areas. In the Rio Grande Valley, it’s cool today, and onions love that.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, said on Nov. 16 that the crops in Texas and Mexico were doing well, adding, “Everything had been a little bit ahead of schedule, but now the cold weather north of us is slowly but surely seeping in.” He added, “We needed that to slow things down a little.”
Megan Jacobson with Gills Onions in Oxnard told us on Nov. 16 that planting season is going full-bore. “2023 planting is well on its way!” she said. “The photos are from our Bakersfield growing region, and the fields pictured will be harvested in late June or early July.” Our thanks to Jose Cardona with Rio Farms for the outstanding photos this week!
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