Wisconsin onion growers benefit from lower yields out West
“We have a network of local onion growers here in Wisconsin who we market and re-pack product for,” says Tony Huizenga with Wisconsin-based Alsum Farms. “Our growers mainly grow large/medium yellow onions that we re-pack for them.” The Wisconsin onion season runs from September through April and after that, Alsum Farms sources in Southern Texas, New Mexico and Washington to ensure year-round supplies. “All product is shipped to our facility in Wisconsin where it is re-packed for various retailers in the East and Southeastern part of the country,” mentioned Huizenga.
Wisconsin yellow onions in bulk
No shift in consumer preference
Although large/medium yellow onions make up 70 percent of Alsum Farms’ onion program, the company also sells red, white and sweet onion varieties. “Right now, these varieties are sourced in Washington, but soon, local Wisconsin red onion harvest will start and supply us into March,” said Huizenga. Demand for onions is pretty steady. “I don’t see particular varieties taking over like we see in the potato industry,” Huizenga shared.
A farmer’s year
“It’s a farmer’s year this year for onion growers.” Huizenga refers to the prices that have significantly improved compared to last year. The jumbo market for yellow onions continues to creep up. It started at $7/50 lbs. and is now at $9/50 lbs. Jumbo whites are at $18/50 lbs. right now. The Northwest, the nation’s largest onion growing area, had a hot summer that resulted in lower yields and smaller sizes. In addition, planted acreage was also slightly smaller out West this year. As a result, the Jumbo red market is up 50 percent compared to last year and the Jumbo white market is up 80 percent.
Packaged yellow Wisconsin onions
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Publication date: 10/2/2017
Author: Marieke Hemmes
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