Shippers are hoping for an uptick in demand for high-quality Mexican green onions, which in late February were selling for less than half their 2011 prices.
Easter pull could increase movement of green onions from Mexico’s Mexicali growing region, said Mark McBride, sales manager for Salinas, Calif.-based Coastline Produce.
“It’s usually a time when the market perks up a bit,” McBride said.
On Feb. 28, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $5.95-7.11 for cartons of bunched 48s medium from Mexico, down from $14.35-16.75 last year at the same time.
Don Hobson, vice president of sales for Oxnard, Calif.-based Boskovich Farms Inc., didn’t expect much of a change in prices as spring neared. Crossings were down in February compared to last season because of lower U.S. demand for green onions, Hobson said.
Boskovich expects to harvest in the Mexicali Valley until June, when Mexican production will switch to the Ojos Negros region and domestic harvest begins in Oxnard.
The crop as of late February offered great opportunities for retailers, McBride said.
“There’s plenty of them, they’re absolutely beautiful, and the market is priced for promotions.”
After excessive cold in December and early January, the growing weather in the Mexicali Valley has been unusually warm, he said. As a result, volumes were ramping up considerably by late February.
“We anticipate really good supplies through the end of the desert deal,” McBride said.
Hobson reported growing conditions in the Mexicali Valley as “perfect.”
“They made it through the toughest times — November, December and January,” he said. “Once you make it through that, you’re home free. Everything’s looking really good.”