A combination of great growing weather in Mexico and lousy weather in the U.S. has left green onion shippers with ample supplies of top-quality green onions and not enough demand to meet it.
Mother Nature could not have been kinder to green onion plants in Mexico’s Mexicali Valley this winter, said Mark McBride, a salesman at Salinas, Calif.-based Coastline Produce.
“They’ve had perfect growing weather,” McBride said. “The crop is absolutely gorgeous.”
Yields are high, growers are packing a wide range of sizes, color is bright and onions are free of scarring, McBride said.
Weekly volumes also are slightly higher than normal for this time of year, he said.
Volumes for Oxnard, Calif.-based Boskovich Farms Inc. have been about normal, said Don Hobson, vice president of sales.
With the outstanding growing weather, there have been no gaps this winter and Boskovich’s grower partners in the Mexicali/San Luis region were a few weeks ahead on plantings as of Feb. 25, Hobson said.
Volumes should be abundant and quality excellent at least until Boskovich’s deal transitions from Mexicali/San Luis to Mexico’s Ojos Negros region in mid- to late May, Hobson said.
Unfortunately for shippers, as nice as the growing weather in Mexico has been, the weather in the U.S. East and Midwest has been cold and snowy, and demand for green onions is down as a result, McBride said.
“We’ve been in the doldrums,” he said. “When the weather improves, movement should improve dramatically.”
McBride is hoping for a corresponding increase in prices, but it’s not guaranteed.
On Feb. 25, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $9-10.15 for 2 film bags (24 bunches per bag) of green onions from Mexico, down from $23.65-25.35 last year at the same time.
Hobson didn’t expect much of a change in markets for the duration of the Mexicali/San Luis deal, as temperatures rise and green onion production in the region ticks up even more.