Potatoes solid, but onions struggle

11/24/2013 01:44:00 PM
Cynthia David

“We’re exporting onions out of Colorado and Utah going to Mexico, and we’ve got onions out of Utah going to Central America,” said Holmes.

“We’re excited about the possibility of a real good winter and spring onion deal,” he said.

Washington growers, meanwhile, are still recovering from their soggy September harvest.

“On Sept. 14, with everything under cover, we all breathed a sigh of relief,” said Jason Walker, vice president sales and marketing for Bybee Produce LLC in Prosser, Wash., in the Columbia Basin.

Now that his onions are safely in storage, the big question is how well they’ll hold in the next six months, said Walker, who packs about 2 million 50-pound bags a season.

On the bright side, Washington growers are being courted by buyers from Mexico, Taiwan and Japan, whose own onions were hit by cold, wet weather.

In the high desert climate of northern Nevada, meanwhile, the onion season went by without a hitch for Yerington-based Peri & Sons.

“Our white onions have great size, shape and color, with record yields,” said president David Peri, adding that long-term storage looks promising.



Jeremy Sander, account manager at Lange Logistics in St. Louis, said trucks for onions are, as usual, scarce.

As for potatoes, Sander said Idaho is “steady as usual.”

He said southern Colorado got off to a slower start than in previous years.

He also noticed an increase in demand for trucks in western and central Texas, where potato operations have grown steadily in the past two years.

Holmes said the truck deal in all areas is still very difficult.

“But having a good onion market is the main thing,” he said. “We’ll deal with the trucks.”

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