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Above-average onion market expected for rest of summer

Onion supply is in a transition period. "New Mexico is ramping up with full volume this week and Southern California/the Imperial Valley is also wrapping up this week," says John Harris of Paradigm Fresh.

Meanwhile, Central California is also starting production and should be up to shipping full volume in two weeks. All in all, the supply is sufficient to meet the current demand for onions.

While the industry has been quiet last week and this week, shipments are in the low 400 loads/day which is typical of this time of year. (Average movement for the U.S. is around 425 loads/day.) "There's not a lot going on. There's regular business but no extra business," says Harris, adding that consumers continue to have pressure on their grocery store dollars. That said, while onions have seen stronger pricing this year, they are still a relatively affordable item for consumers and a common ingredient for those who cook at home–something consumers are turning to more and more given higher restaurant prices.

Higher onion pricing
As for pricing, it continues to be strong. "Prices are still pretty high on red onions while white and yellow onions are mildly elevated over what would be considered average for a June market," says Harris. He also adds that when onion prices come back down to more expected, normal levels, they will still be more expensive than they have been in the past given the increased input costs growers and shippers are contending with.

Looking ahead, it's expected that there will be an above-average market for the remainder of the summer. "Medium yellows will be a tight item until we get into July. This red price is going to start to relax a bit over the next couple of weeks but it will remain elevated over the normal market conditions," says Harris. "The white market that we're currently in, I'd expect that to remain pretty steady through the end of July. We probably won't see much of a market adjustment until the storage crop starts again at the end of July-beginning of August."

He also adds that there should be a reasonably good supply for the summer. "Sometimes Mexico influences the market depending on what comes across from some Mexican growing areas into Nogales (Arizona) and El Paso (Texas). We are also way down on Mexican imports this year compared to last year and that has been impactful in having a good market here in the last six months," says Harris.

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