As a staple item that regularly appears on most shopping lists, onions aren’t a prime candidate for big retail promotions, but there are now opportunities to promote organic onions that should last well into spring.
“There is a good supply of organic onions right now, and we expect that to be the case through the transition,” said Jarod Hunting of Earl's Organic Produce, located on the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market.
Jarod Hunting, Produce Buyer, Earl's Organic Produce
The company’s onion buyer was speaking of the transition from the storage crop to the new fresh crop of organic onions, which will be harvested in the California desert beginning in late April. “Right now we are pulling storage onions from a few different sources in the Pacific Northwest and Nevada,” he said.
The current price and supply situation on organic onions, Hunting said, is very favorable—much better than a year ago. Wildfires in the Northwest in 2021 led to a short 2022 storage crop, with many shippers having 30-40 percent fewer onions than normal. “This year we are expecting a seamless transition from the storage to the desert in mid-April,” he said.
“There is a good supply of organic onions right now, and we expect that to be the case through the transition." - Jared Hunting
And the quality of the onions coming out of storage is top-notch, according to organic onion shippers. “The quality has been really, really fantastic,” Hunting said. “We’ve had stable pricing with very little volatility. That allows us to promote organic onions to our customer list (mostly local retailers), allowing them the opportunity of offering good [retail] pricing for their customers.”
Hunting did say that while there are good volumes of organic yellows as well as reds and whites, there are tighter supplies on both organic cipollini onions and shallots.
Jessica Peri, retail sales manager of Peri & Sons Farms in Yerington, NV, agreed that the organic onion situation is good right now. “There is not much to report,” she said. “We are still shipping out of storage with good supplies and good quality.”
Jessica Peri, Retail Sales Manager, Peri & Sons Farms
The Imperial Valley district is the first area in the West to have new crop onions, she said, with a typical start date of late April. The desert area, Peri said, has had a couple of weeks of unseasonably cold weather—as has the rest of California—which could delay the start of the season and potentially create a gap in some organic onion categories.
Supplies of organic yellows are very good, she said, and do offer an opportunity for retail promotion. “There are not a lot of organic whites, but the demand is pretty low,” Peri said. “There is a decent amount of organic reds available.”