Texas Onion Shipments
The Lower Rio Grande Valley is just starting to dig sweet onions, with shipments of this product from South Texas to get underway within days. This is taking place the same week that onions crossing the border from Mexico are expected to end. Likewise, storage onions from Idaho, Oregon and Washington are also finishing up.
The Lone Star States is expected to have about 3,500 acres of its well-known spring onions, which are usually shipped for about six weeks from early April to mid-May. The 3,500 acres represents about a 2,000-acre decrease in plantings from a year ago.
South Texas produce shipments (grapefruit, oranges, cabbage) and Mexican produce shipments (tomatoes, watermelons, tropical fruit, vegetables) – grossing about $2800 to Chicago; about $4800 New York City.
Vidalia Onion Shipments
Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black has set April 27 as the official shipping start date for Vidalia onions, although growers can ship before April 27 if their onions meet federal inspection requirements and are under “positive lot identification” as approved by the Federal State Inspection Service. This means Vidalias shipped before 4/27 cannot be sold as Vidalias.
Bland Farms, Glennville, Ga., has challenged the 4/27 start date in court and a judge in Atlanta ruled in favor of Bland Farms. However, the state has appealed the ruling.
A panel of three judges of the Georgia Appeals Court heard arguments Jan. 14 and have taken the case under advisement. They did not indicate when they may issue a decision.
Bland Farms, contends Black violated state law by trying to impose a new rule instead of going through the state’s legislature. The growing/shipping operation has some of the southern most fields in the Vidalia onion growing districts and believes its onions mature earlier, and should be allowed to ship under the Vidalia name prior to 4/27.