As the Vidalia deal ends, retailers should expect summer to bring increasing sweet onion supplies as deals begin in New Mexico, California and Washington.

Western deals boost summer sweet onionsEarly arrivals of Peruvian sweets should also help volume in a year that experienced an early end of Vidalia shipments.

In early July, Shuman Produce Inc., Reidsville, Ga., was finishing Vidalia shipping from storage. President John Shuman said the grower-shipper expects to end its shipments by mid-July, more than a month ahead of normal.

Shuman said the Vidalia storage deal can run well into August and through Labor Day but downy mildew and a hot spring contributed to a mid-May completion of the fresh harvest, two weeks ahead of normal.

Shuman began shipping Bakersfield, Calif., onions in mid-July and said he expects strong availability of the flatter granex variety through mid-August, overlapping an expected Aug. 1 commencement of Peruvian volume. On July 10, Shuman said he was beginning to receive shipments in Savannah, Ga.

“Buyers can expect good supplies from California and New Mexico this month,” he said. “There will be good volume available from Peru at the end of July and in early August. We will have availability from different regions that should nicely support retail demand.”

Barry Rogers, president of Sweet Onion Trading Corp., Melbourne, Fla., said California, New Mexico and Washington should bring strong volume.

Rogers said his growers typically begin their central California shipments July 4 but growing conditions brought harvest on June 11. He said the storage deal, which typically finishes in mid-August, might end a little earlier than normal.

Rogers characterized New Mexico’s crop as strong and said he expected sweet onions in Pasco, Wash., to begin shipping Aug. 10, also earlier than normal.

“We have an unbelievable crop in California,” Rogers said July 10. “It’s peaking on four-inch onions.”

Rogers and Shuman said lower Vidalia volume is keeping prices high.

On June 10, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported 40-pound cartons jumbo Vidalias selling for $24 with mediums at $22.

That’s higher than the $16 for jumbos the USDA reported last year in mid-July.

For Walla Walla sweets, the USDA reported 40-pound cartons of jumbos selling for $16, up from $13-14 in mid-July last season.

Rogers said California is bringing strong volumes of colossals and super-colossals.

He said Peru volume could start earlier than normal, if demand warrants.