Warm weather has set the Peruvian onion crop ahead by a few weeks, according to growers and shippers in the deal.
“Harvesting began in mid-July, and normally we begin to harvest in early to mid-August,” said Marty Kamer, vice president of Keystone Fruit Marketing, Inc., Greencastle, Pa.
Derek Rodgers, director of sales for Sweet Onion Trading Co., Melbourne, Fla., agrees.
“We’ve been exporting Peru onions since early July, and the market remains strong,” Rodgers said.
He expects to see the demand for Peruvian onions stay strong throughout the season, mainly because there are lower volumes expected.
“The overall supply out of Peru will be about 20% less than last year,” said Brian Kastick, president and general manager for Oso Sweet Onions, Charleston, W. Va.
Despite not getting the yields they had hoped for, Kastick said the company is excited for this season after the company expanded acreage in Peru by about 30%.
“We had some weather challenges so we won’t get the full yield we’d hoped for,” he said.
“The crop overall is good quality, but yields are not as good as they normally are so we will see a little bit shorter supply,” said Delbert Bland, owner of Bland Farms LLC, Glennville, Ga.
However, Bland doesn’t expect a shortage, just a tighter supply.
“I don’t think they will be very plentiful as far as having more than what we need, for sure,” he said.
Shippers credit the smaller yields to higher temperatures.
“It’s just been too hot for them to grow as well as they should,” Bland said.
“The growing season so far this year has been unusually warm, so we are expecting a reduction in yields of about 15% to 20%,” said John Shuman, president of Shuman Produce Inc., Reidsville, Ga.
“Other than that, the crop is very clean and looks great from a quality standpoint,” Shuman said in an e-mail.
These lower quantities should translate to higher prices.
“Supplies are tighter this year, so we’re seeing where prices are higher than the last couple of years,” said Margret DeBruyn, president and chief executive officer of DeBruyn Produce Co., Zeeland, Mich.
DeBruyn expects to see prices stay around the $15.50 range for the low point this year, up from $13.50 last year.
“The last few years have been hard on everyone, especially growers, and everyone’s feeling good this year,” she said.