“The overall market has everything available but prices are just high,” says John Harris of Fort Collins, Co.-based Paradigm Fresh. High is almost as much as 50 per cent of this time last year with white onions going for $18-$20/box, reds at $8-$9/box and yellows at $9/box.
The summer heat could be a factor. “It seems like there was a lot of heat in Washington, Idaho and Oregon this year and yields are off and the size profile is off,” says Harris. “There are a lot fewer large onions around than normal for this time of year and the tonnage is off because of that. So everyone’s going through their production quite a bit faster.”
No drop in demand
That strong demand could be why the market hasn’t seen a fall in prices yet. “I’ve been kind of waiting for the shoe to drop and the market to come down and it just hasn’t,” says Harris. “I suppose they’re making a believer out of me that this market could be this way for the duration. I have a hard time believing we’re going to sustain a $20 market on whites all year long but at this point there’s nothing to suggest that it’s going to collapse. It may not stay that high all season, but I would say it’ll stay above average for all markets and all colors the entire year. It’s quite a swing from last year considering we were at the lowest point ever last year.”
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