(March 1) After last spring’s poor growing conditions led to a shortage and double-digit prices, the Mexican green onion deal this spring is very different.
This spring, a slight increase in acreage and nearly perfect growing conditions have added up to flat demand for a great-quality crop, grower-shippers say.
“There’s a lack of excitement overall on green onions,” said Jason Lathos, sales manager at Salinas, Calif.-based Fresh Kist Produce LLC, on Feb. 28.
Marty Johnson, product manager for green onions at Green Giant Fresh by Growers Express, Salinas, said Feb. 28 that it is shipping 25,000 to 30,000 cases of green onions per week but not getting the same money per carton as last year.
“It’s nowhere near it,” Johnson said.
Last year, prices shot up $4 a box in the third week of February to more than $12 a carton. This year, green onions are selling for almost half that amount.
On Feb. 28, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported fairly slow trading through the Calexico, Calif., and San Luis, Ariz., crossings, with prices for cartons of bunched medium 48s mostly $4.85-6.45 and smalls for $4-5.
EVERYONE’S VOLUME UP
John Killeen, vice president of sales and marketing at Salinas-based NewStar Fresh Foods LLC, said its volume is up considerably over last year at this time, but so is everyone’s.
The lull in demand this season hasn’t had a major effect on the Mexican green onion program at Ocean Mist Farms, said Jeff Post, account and green onion commodity manager at the Castroville, Calif.-based company.
“Cheaper markets have affected us, but for the most part demand has been moderate to moderately strong,” Post said.
Don Hobson, vice president for Oxnard, Calif.-based Boskovich Farms Inc., said quality has been excellent.
“The quality’s great — it’s beautiful,” Hobson said. “There’s no mildew issues like last year. Last year there were all kinds of quality issues.”