While everyone seems to be talking about Vidalia sweet onions, which won’t even start shipping for another month, there’s plenty of Mexican sweet onions crossing the border in South Texas, while an excellent crop of Texas 1015 variety sweet onions are now underway.
Onions from Peru are done, which is helping to bolster loadings out of the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
As of March 2nd shipments year to date out of Mexico a year ago were 2,667 truck loads in 2016. This year 4,523 truck loads have crossed the border into Texas by that same date. Mexican onion shipments got underway this year a month earlier than normal, which will result in loadings from Mexico ending earlier than usual. (A similar situation exists in South Texas and with Vidalia onions).
Mexican onion quality overall has been reported very good and is averaging over 700 truck loads crossing the border each week.
As Mexican onion shipments have entered the last half of its season, sweet onions out of the Lower Rio Grande Valley have just recently got underway. While no official acreage report has been issued, some believe there are fewer acres planted in the Rio Grande Valley than a year ago. Less than 75 truck loads of Texas sweet onions were shipped from the valley last week, but volume is increasing.
Imported Mexican tropical fruits and vegetables – grossing about $2800 to Chicago.
1015 Sweet Onion History
The sweet onions from Texas started when the Bermuda onion was introduced into South Texas in 1898 when a packet of onion seed was planted near Cotulla. The onions were shipped in 1899 to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they were so enthusiastically received that a larger acreage was planted.
By 1904, approximately 500 acres of Bermuda onions were planted in South Texas. In spring, 1907, 1,011 carloads (rail) of onions were shipped from South and Southwest Texas; in 1908, production had more than doubled, and in 1909, 12 counties shipped 2,920 carloads. Shipments reached 6,735 carloads in 1917; this figure was not exceeded until 1928 and 1929 when the total movements were 7,055 and 7,232 carloads, respectively. The largest movement in 50 years for a single season was 10,164 carloads in 1946.
The Canary Islands, principally Teneriffe Island, produced most of the onion seed planted in Texas until about 1946. The two types of Bermuda onions generally grown in Texas were the Yellow Bermuda and White Bermuda and Crystal Wax.