It’s a spud and onion soap opera out there

03/23/2012 08:39:00 AM
Andy Nelson

And yet, if you’ve been following the onion and spud markets and industries the past few years, you’d think they were top candidates for their own soap opera or reality TV show — something, you know, kind of glamorous.

It’s now spring 2012, and here we go again. Another interesting chapter in the ongoing drama, albeit untelevised.

Let’s start with onions, whose roller coaster-like price curve has amazed me frequently in the past. 

I reported recently on how shippers were confident that sweet onion prices would pick up this spring after a very sluggish winter.

One reason is Texas, which should begin shipping in volume in April. Retailers are excited about reports of expected good quality and size.

But the main reason Texas markets will likely be stronger is that onion acreage in the state is expected to be about 30% lower than last year, Don Ed Holmes, owner of Weslaco, Texas-based The Onion House, told me.

That big number sent me scurrying for other numbers. 

About 4.14 million cwt. of onions shipped out of Texas in the spring of 2011, at an average price of $14.70 per cwt., according to the USDA.


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