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Plentiful onion market could look different come early 2024

Onion supply across North America is ample. “There seems to be plenty just about everywhere,” says John Harris of Paradigm Fresh. “As we head into 2024 though, I’m expecting some of that to change.”

Canada: “Canada has a very, very short crop this year,” says Harris. “There was a lot of rain during harvest so some didn’t even get harvested.” This means Canada could be buyers of onions earlier than normal--possibly in January/February.

Mexico: Mexico had quite a few water shortages this year. “Acreage in Mexico that would typically come on February-April is going to be reduced,” says Harris.

Netherlands: The Netherlands also has a short crop on onions. “We don’t talk about the Netherlands often but they’re a good-sized exporter into the U.S.,” says Harris. However, with that short crop, the country may become an importer from the U.S.

New York: New York also has a bit of a shorter crop.

Washington: “Washington has a normal, average-sized crop. They had a good growing year and have a bit more size on their onions,” says Harris, noting there are a few more jumbos and colossals and fewer mediums compared to last year.

Idaho and Oregon: Eastern Idaho/Oregon in the Treasure Valley felt some effects of Hurricane Hilary in August. “They got quite a bit of rain--four to eight inches, depending on where the farms were at,” says Harris. That means there could be concerns about the amount of shrink this region will see on the later side of shipping its storage onions given that the August rain hit during harvest.

As for demand, following a softer October for demand, it has picked up since the start of November and continues strengthening. “The Christmas push is bigger than the Thanksgiving push because Thanksgiving is a day and with Christmas comes all sorts of holiday events and parties,” says Harris.

So where does this leave the 2023 onion crop? “All signs point towards a strong onion market for later winter/spring of 2024,” Harris says. That will likely be welcomed given the yellow market currently in the Northwest is at or below the cost of production. “I wouldn’t be surprised as we get into late February-April if we see a $14-$15 yellow onion market. That’s double of what it is right now,” says Harris, noting the industry would like to see the yellow market come up to $10 going into Christmas.

Meanwhile, the white market is a bit unstable and weaker than it had been in the first six to eight weeks of the storage crop season. “The red market has stayed steady. We’re expecting an upward trend on that market moving into the holidays and 2024,” says Harris. “The red market has probably the most upside out of everything.”

For more information:
John Harris
Paradigm Fresh
Tel: +1 (970) 775.2049
[email protected]