(Oct. 5) Mexican green onions had yielded excellent quality, and shippers reported on-time harvests as they waited out low prices on small sizes.
Ocean Mist Farms, Castroville, Calif., started harvests in the Mexicali region in about late August, said Jeff Post, crop manager. Post said prices in early October for pencil-sized green onions were $1-2 less per carton than mediums.
At the same time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported cartons of bunched 48s at $7.50-9.35 for mediums, and small Mexican green onions were priced at $7-7.60.
Post said weather had been favorable despite two storms, which didn’t cause damage.
“There was a couple of bad storms that affected us anywhere between 24 and 48 hours,” he said. “Other than that, the weather’s been very favorable and has been conducive to a good crop.”
Ocean Mist’s deal out of Mexico is up about 35%, as the company increased acreage this year, Post said. The Mexicali operation was expected to continue through May.
California’s green onion deal, expected to end the first full week of October, had garnered $8 for small sizes and $10 for larger sizes early in the month, said Don Hobson, vice president of sales and marketing at Boskovich Farms Inc., Oxnard, Calif.
Hobson said California onion harvests would end about two weeks earlier than normal because of warm weather, which meant there would be no overlap with Boskovich’s Mexican deal in San Luis, expected to start on time about Oct. 15.
In early October, Hobson said Mexican green onions had sold for as low as $6 for small sizes, a price he said was due to an abundance of smaller products.
“We don’t start down there until we get into a certain percentage of the mediums,” he said.
Demand was expected to increase as deals in Ohio, Canada and the Northwestern U.S. concluded by about mid-October, Hobson said.
In Mexico, he said Boskovich would increase volumes by about 10% over last season. The company grows onions on 1,800 acres in the country.
New for Boskovich this season is an organic green onion deal that will start in Mexico at about the end of November, Hobson said. The program is expected to start with small volumes.
Like the Mexicali green onions, Hobson said the San Luis product would be shipped through May.
Moorpark, Calif.-based Muranaka Farms Inc., which sources out of Mexicali and San Luis, started its green onion harvests the first full week of October, said Leonard Cole, vice president of sales and marketing.
Though quality was excellent, Cole said sizing was smaller than last season.
“We had a little bit of a cold snap the past few weeks,” he said. “It’s not bringing on the size that we’d like.”
Cole said he expected sizing to rebound as the deal progressed through the month.
Early onions out of Mexicali weren’t exposed to unexpected disease or pest problems, said Tom Russell, president of Salinas-based Pacific International Marketing Inc., which expected to finish its California deal by about Nov. 1 or Nov. 12.
Russell said his company shipped light volumes from Mexicali in early October.