Markets for Peruvian sweet onions should tighten as production shifts to the south.
Glennville, Ga.-based Bland Farms will source mainly from Peru through January, with some product available from Nevada through December, said Delbert Bland, the company’s president.
In early November, Bland Farms expected to transition from the Ica to the Arequipa growing region of Peru, Bland said.
Bland Farms brought in abundant supplies of colossals from Ica up until the week of Oct. 21, when size began declining, he said. Once the deal in Arequipa deal ramps up, though, the company should have plenty of colossals again.
Peruvian quality has been good this year, Bland said, but he wished there were more onions to sell.
“I’d like to have more than what we have,” he said.
Prices will likely increase as Ica gives way to Arequipa, which is a much smaller growing region, said John Shuman, president of Reidsville, Ga.-based Shuman Produce Inc.
“I think it will hold steady through the end of Peru,” said Shuman, who expected a normal mix of sizes out of Arequipa.
Shuman Produce expects to bring in Peruvian onions through late January to mid-February.
On Oct. 29, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $17-19 for 40-pound cartons of colossal yellow granex onions from Peru, down from $19-20 last year at the same time.
A combination of weather and lower acreage contributed to the volume reduction out of Peru, Bland said. In addition, Chile is buying more Peruvian onions than normal this season.
Bland Farms is increasing its production in Peru so it doesn’t have to rely as much on other growers, Bland said.
Peru will carry the load for Bland Farms until mid- to late January, when Mexican production begins.
“We feel very good about Mexico,” Bland said. “There was a lot of rain at the very beginning, but we made it through that. We should have a good crop.”
Don Ed Holmes, owner of The Onion House LLC, Weslaco, Texas, also reported a good start to the Mexican growing season. The Onion House expects to be shipping Mexican sweets by the first or second week of January.
Texas plantings were going well as of Oct. 29, though water concerns could cut the size of the 2014 Rio Grande Valley crop by 10-15%, Holmes said.
Acreage in Texas’s Winter Garden growing area also will likely be down as growers there take advantage of high cotton prices, Holmes said.