Low demand in April was exacerbated by a glut of product, Holmes said, with Idaho, Oregon and Mexico running later than usual and Texas and Georgia starting earlier.
Advance pricing prevented the low supplies of jumbo and colossal Vidalias from exerting too much upward pressure on pricing through the week of April 16, Rodgers said.
“Ideally we’d like to get them up for growers,” he said. “They are starting to get some strength this week. We hope that keeps up the next two or three weeks.”
Jumbo markets will likely stay steady, medium prices could fall slightly and colossal markets could strengthen, based on whether retailers will be content to switch from colossals from jumbos when colossals get scarce, Williams said.
On April 24, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $14-16 for 40-pound cartons of jumbo Vidalias, up from $12 last year at the same time.
Markets won’t likely get a boost until the Winter Garden area of Texas, California and Arizona begin shipping in early May, Holmes said.
“They’re going to inherit a really good market.”
Sweet Onion Trading expects to begin its Bakersfield, Calif.-area sweet onion deal in the second or third week of June. Typically, the company will store its California onions for three weeks to wait for the Vidalia pipeline to clear.
That likely won’t be the case this year, given Vidalia’s early end, Rodgers said.
“It’s a perfect example of why we have that deal. This could be the year where we don’t have to store.”