A near-shutdown of foodservice outlets and booming demand from retailers resulted in Texas onion grower-shippers opening their season with unprecedented market conditions.
There were ups and downs in onion shipment due to the combination of factors — caused by social distance restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. in March.
Frontera Produce Ltd. of Edinburg, Tx reports onion shipment got off to a quick start out of the gate, driven by higher retail demand. However, by March 27th Loadings nearly came to a standstill. But a better balance has since come about as retailers learn to balance their orders.
Onion shipments started around two weeks early this year, compared to 2019.
Looking at the fast start from a volume perspective, during the week of March 15-21, Texas onion shipments totaled 15.4 million pounds (385,000 40-pound cartons), up more than fivefold from just 2.8 million pounds (70,000 cartons) the same week last year.
Bebo Distributing Co. Inc. of Pharr, Texas, notes there had be been good supplies of Texas onions going into May.
In 2019, the USDA reported Texas shipments of top commodities were:
- Cabbage: 86.04 million pounds;
- Grapefruit: 183.13 million pounds;
- Onions: 246.2 million pounds;
- Oranges: 83.13 million pounds;
- Seeded watermelons: 22.64 million pounds; and
- Seedless watermelons: 598.28 million pounds.