Peru’s onion season is off to a slow start, but quality is good and production is expected to increase over last season.
“The crop is a bit late due to unseasonably cold weather,” said Barry Rogers, president of Sweet Onion Trading, Melbourne, Fla.
“Onion quality looks good in all regions.”
Rogers, who was in Peru in early September, said that as of Aug. 30, imports of Peruvian sweet onions were down 215 containers from the previous season at the same time, and the lowest since 2014.
“Volume shipped to the U.S. is down 28%, but should catch up in time for Thanksgiving,” Rogers said Sept. 6.
Marty Kamer, president of Keystone Fruit Marketing, Greencastle, Pa., agreed.
“Keystone’s early season onion crop from Peru is just now arriving into ports,” Kamer said the first week of September.
“Light volume in September and early October is expected, due to some cooler temps during the growing cycle.
“We expect volumes to normalize towards late October or early November,” he said.
The USDA’s first two f.o.b. price reports of Peruvian onions in late August/early September put 40-pound cartons of jumbo sweet onions at $18.
Walt Dasher, co-owner of G&R Farms, Glennville, Ga., said his company starts harvest in July, shipping to retailers starting in mid-August.
“The crop is basically on time, however, cold weather has slowed growth down just a little bit, but we feel like things will rebound very well,” Dasher said Sept. 9.
“We had a staff member there this week looking over things, and this is his opinion, along with our growers.”
Harvest lasts into late March/early April.
John Shuman, president of Shuman Produce, said the company imported more than 1,000 containers of Peruvian onions last season, marketed under the RealSweet brand.
With rising demand in the U.S. for sweet onions, the company plans to increase volumes this season.
“The Vidalia season went well into August this season and has provided us with a seamless transition to Peruvian sweet onions,” Shuman said.