Posts Tagged “Vidalia onion shipments”

Vidalia Onion Shipments in Sight as Pack Date is Set for April 19

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Vidalia onion shipments will start the third week of April from Southeastern Georgia.

For the 2021 season, approximately 10,000 acres of Vidalia onions were planted, Vidalia Onion Chairman Aries Haygood said. “We are anticipating a good harvest, and consumers across the country should have ample supply throughout the season.

The date growers can start packing under the Vidalia onion name is April 19. The date is determined each year by an advisory panel comprised of Vidalia industry members, state agriculture scientists and the Department of Agriculture, according to a press release.

Soil and weather conditions in south Georgia are taken into consideration to select the date, to help ensure only the highest-quality onions end up on consumers’ plates.

“It is a special moment every year when we announce the Vidalia onions pack date, but this year we will mark the passage of the 1986 Vidalia Onion Act by our state legislature that played a defining role in making our state’s official vegetable an iconic brand recognized around the world,” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said in the release. 

First discovered in the 1930s, Vidalia onions quickly grew in popularity over the next few decades. The Vidalia Onion Act established that only sweet onions grown in 20 South Georgia counties from a distinctive Granex seed and packed and sold on or after the official pack date each year could be called  Vidalia onions. 

Known for its sweet, mild flavor and treasured by cooks nationwide, the vegetable is hand-cultivated by 60 registered growers. They represent about 40 percent of the sweet onion market and are sold in every state.

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Vidalia Onion Shipments are Off to a Good Start

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Georgia Vidalia onion shipments are underway and loadings should be similar to a year ago.

There are 9,373 acres on onions in the ground, which is similar to 2019 crop acreage, which was about 2,000 acres down from 2018. 

The Vidalia Onion Committee reports more onions are being grown on less acreage. There are about 80,000 to 110,000 onion plants per acre being cultivated by hand to produce the 5 million to 7 million 40-pound equivalents shipped every year.

In 2019, the Vidalia onion industry produced 5.3 million 40-pound equivalents. There is a six to eight-week harvest period for fresh onions, and then about half the crop, or 3 million to 3.5 million bushels, is shipped from cold storage or controlled atmosphere storage through summer.

Last year was one of the best shipping season in Vidalia onion history and the industry has hopes for the same results this go around.

Every year the Georgia Department of Agriculture sets an official start date for the season after hearing from a 13-member advisory panel of the Vidalia Onion Committee of growers. This year’s start date was April 16.

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Vidala Onions Start Date is April 20th; Updates on California, Avocados and Strawberries

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OnionHarvestThe start date has been set and Vidalia Onion shipments get underway in a couple of weeks.  Meanwhile, here’s an update on California avocado and strawberry shipments.

The Vidalia onion season will officially start on April 20th, which was recently announced by the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Vidalia Onion Committee.

A starting date was implemented several years at as some shippers were concerned about immature or low-quality onions hitting the market early in the season.  In 2017, April 12 was the start date, and in 2016 it was April 25.  The packing date is based on soil and weather conditions in the 20-county area approved to market onions as Vidalias.

In 2017 Vidalia onions were grown on more than 11,000 acres.

California Avocado Shipments

This year’s avocado forecast is set at 374.6 million pounds, which is significantly higher than last year’s 215.8 million pounds.  There was the normal light volume in February, but significant volume increase are seen in coming weeks as there will be avocados coming out of both California and Mexico.

With the close of February, 2 million to 4 million pounds per week were being shipped and volume increases of March are expected to continue April until movement eventually hits about 10 million pounds per week.

Ventura County avocados, strawberries and vegetables – grossing about $3900 to Dallas.

California Shipper’s Strawberry Outlook

by California Giant Berry Farms

Watsonville, CA –  Spring conditions have finally arrived in California to help bring on the new strawberry crop for California Giant. Unfortunately, the company missed the chance to take advantage of the early Easter holiday which provides opportunity to build demand and lay the groundwork for a strong spring season. However, conditions have changed significantly and now California Giant is now looking ahead to the next chance with Mother’s Day. 

What initially looked like an early season for the company’s California strawberry crop, didn’t quite happen as growers thought it would. . Additionally, the company had weather issues in their two other regions, Mexico and Florida, which typically helps fill the early season gaps. 

“…In Watsonville and Salinas we expect big beautiful fruit next week bypassing the typical mud crop” says JT Tipton, District Manager for Salinas and Watsonville. Barring any unexpected return of winter conditions, the sales team is looking forward to Mother’s Day ahead and promotable volume to support their key customers.”


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Washington Potato Shipments are Underway; Plus Updates on Vidalia Onions and BC Blueberries

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DSCN9805Washington potato shipments for the new season are underway, while Vidalia onion loadings continue.  In British Columbia (BC), blueberry shipments are in peak volume.

Washington state’s potato season got underway in July with some early variety chipping varieties, followed by some colored varieties out of the Yakima Valley.  Then came some early processing spuds, followed by fresh market russets.

Fresh potato acerage in Washington has been stable at about 25,000 acres  for several years now.  Around 70 percent of the state’s potatoes are destined for export markets, comprised mostly of  processed products.   Most of Washington tablestock potatoes are shipped to Canada, Mexico and Taiwan. The state also has red potatoes coming out of the Skagit Valley.

While Washington potato sheds ship russets the year-round, its red, yellow and white potatoes usually are finished by March or April.

Vidalia Onion Shipments

Steady volume with Vidalia onions is expected to continue through Labor Day.  Truck shipments are expected to be very similar to last year’s total volume of 6.2 million 40-pound boxes, coming off of Southeastern Georgia’s nearly 12,000 acres,  As of July 26, there were still about 750,000 40-pound cartons of onions remaining in storage.

Bland Farms of Glennville, GA,  expects to be shipping Vidalia onions out of storage through late August or early September, with a smooth transition expected to Peruvian imports in September. Imported Peruvian onions will continue for the U.S. into early next year.

A little over 200 truck loads per week are being shipped out of the Vidalia district

Vidalia onions – grossing about $3000 to New York City.

BC Blueberry Shipments

British Columbia’s blueberry shipments should peak through August and could last into early September.  In a more normal year, most British Columbia “blues” would be shipped to markets in the Western U.S.  However, with East Coast blueberry volume slashed this year due to weather factors, more BC blueberries will be trucked into the Eastern Time Zone.  However, BC shipments could be off 30 to 50 percent this season due to poor pollination.  As the BC season closes around Labor Day, imports of blueberries from Peru and Argentina will start arriving at U.S. ports.




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Widespread Panic! SE Blueberries, Peaches, other Crops Clobbered by Freeze

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DSCN9012More details are becoming available on that mid March hard freeze that hit crops from North Carolina to Southern Georgia.  Spring produce shipments from the Southeast will definitely be affected.

Georgia Blueberry Shipments

That March 15-17 freeze could reduce Georgia blueberry shipments by as much as 75 percent this spring, costing the industry $400 million.  At best, there is hope “only” 60 percent of the crop was lost, but it could easily be higher in the south-central areas of Georgia, which is heart of blueberry production.

In this area, covering about 50 miles,  60 to 70 percent of Georgia’s blueberry crop is located.  Some farmers have lost 100% of their early production rabbiteye crop.  Temperatures in the area dropped to as low as 21 degrees for three nights in a row in mid-March.

Georgia Peach Shipments

Georgia peach orchards, primarily located in the Ft. Valley area, may have faired better than blueberries.  Shipments may be reduced by “only” 40 to 50 percent.  The lack of chill hours in middle Georgia had delayed the budding process.  Now those buds are emerging, but growers now have to take a wait and see approach.  Because the peaches were so late, it may have protected the crop.

Still,  later on, there’s what is called the “May drop,” where any damaged peaches could start falling from trees.

Vidalia Onion Shipments

Escaping freeze damage was the Vidalia sweet onion crop.  Shippers are still making normal plans for the official April 12 opening shipping date.  It is described as one of the best crops in years.

Georgia Vegetable Shipments

Freeze damage to Georgia vegetables is all over the board.  Bell peppers and other summer vegetables will be lost, while others veggie are expected to be slowed, but not fatally harmed by the weather.  It will be awhile before accurate information is available…..As for Georgia watermelon shipments, there is believed to be some losses, but it should be relatively minor.

North Carolina Fruit Shipments

There is widespread damage to peaches and blueberry crops, but little specific information is available at this time.

South Carolina Produce Shipments

We’ll have a report on Monday, March 27th regarding South Carolina, which actually ships more peaches than Georgia or North Carolina in a normal season.




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Shipping Updates from California Carrots, to Florida Citrus and Vidalia Onions

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IMG_1982Here’s a shipping update ranging from California carrots to Florida citrus and Vidalia onions.  There’s also one less major Georgia onion shipper this year.

California carrots may a little roughed up due to record rains and flooded fields during the past several months, but shippers say the quality remains good for hauling despite some blemishes and cosmetic flaws.

Eighty-five percent of the nation’s fresh carrots are grown and shipped from California.  It’s believed there are between 40 and 50 carrot growers in the Golden State.  Most of those farmers market and ship the product through Grimmway Farms in Bakersfield, Wm. Bolthouse Farms Inc., Bakersfield, or Kern Ridge Growers in Arvin.

Kern County carrots – grossing about $3700 to Chicago.

Florida Citrus

Florida citrus shipments, consisting primarily of grapefruit, tangerines and Valencia oranges, are on a steady seasonal decline.  Grapefruit is pretty much finished, while tangerine loadings should continue until mid-April.  valencias shipments are expected remain fairly steady through May.

Since 2005, when the first signs of citrus greening was discovered, Florida’s citrus shipments have plummeted by  75 percent.

Florida spring produce – grossing about $1100 to Atlanta.

Vidalia Onion Shipments

Vidalia onion shipments from Southeastern Georgia get underway with the official packing date of April 12th, which is two weeks earlier than last year   Favorable winter and spring growing conditions are the reasons for the earlier start.  Last season Georgia shipped 268 million pounds of Vidalia onions from 11,200 acres. 

Plantation Sweets Bankruptcy, Auction

Vidalia onions has one less grower/shipper this season.  Plantation Sweets of Cobbtown, GA  filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2016 claiming assets of less than $50,000 and liabilities of more than $10 million and listing an estimated 50-99 creditors, according to court documents filed at that time.  Plantation Sweets was one of oldest and larger Vidalia onion operations ranking as the second or third largest shipper there.

The packinghouse, land and equipment formerly used in operations for Plantation Sweets will be offered in a bank-ordered auction April 26. Farming equipment and micro-bins used in the operations will be sold April 27 in a separate auction.

While known for its Vidalia onions, Plantation Sweets also had sweet potatoes, watermelon, corn, cabbage and tobacco.

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Shipping Updates from Georgia and the Northwest

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DSCN7767Georgia peach shipments enter the final weeks of the season, while Vidalia onions continue providing consistent, steady loads.  In the Northwest pears, potatoes and onions are in light, but increasing volume.

Following a shipping in late  July, Ft. Valley, GA area shippers are expecting a final season surge of peaches before loadings wind down around August 16-17.  The first half of the season was off to a slow start until the middle of June, but it has ramped up and should continue for a couple more weeks.  Total Georgia peach shipments this year are expected to be up about 25 percent from a year ago.  Some shippers have already finished their season, but a couple of larger ones remain in operation.

Meanwhile, sweet onions from the Vidalia district continue to be shipped from storages, averaging about 250 truck loads per week.

Vidalia onion shipments – grossing about $3000 to New York City.

Northwest Pear Shipments

Northwest pear shipments, primarily from Washington state and Oregon should be very similar to the 2015-16 shipping season, with a 2 percent increase in volume being forecast.  Growers in Washington and Oregon should produce about 18.7 million boxes of pears this season,    The initial estimate was made last spring and a revised shipping estimated is expected soon. Harvest of bartletts and Starkrimson pears was beginning in late July, with winter pears expected to begin in mid-August.

However, apple shipments continue to have the heaviest volume, even though it is late in the season, with a few early varieties already kicking off the start of the 2016-17 shipping season.  Rates to the East Coast may vary by as much $500 to a $1000.  For example, recent rates to Atlanta have ranged from $4800 to $5800, although the majority of the shipments seem to going for the higher end of this range.

Potato and Onion Shipments

Northwest potato shipments and onion shipments for the new season are increasing in volume.  In the Columbia Basin of Washington and the adjacent Umatilla Basin of Oregon potato loadings are expected to have a sharp increase as the old crop has finished and the 2016-17 is now the primary focus.  This same area also has very light onion volume, but it will increasing in the weeks to come.

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Shipping Outlook for Peaches, Sweet Onions, Spuds, Sweet Potatoes

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DSCN7453From Georgia peaches, to sweet onions loadings around the country, to potatoes and sweet potatoes, here are some produce loading oppportunities.

Vidalia onion shipments have gotten off to a fast start.  Much of the reason is due to light supplies from areas creating a larger demand for the sweet onion from Southeastern Georgia…. Onions also are experiencing brisk shipments out of the California desert area of  the Imperial Valley…..Sweet onion shipments out of Walla Walla Washington are expected to get under way about June 20th.

Georgia Peach Shipments

Peach shipments from Georgia are expected to get underway the third week of May from the Ft. Valley area.  Georgia is expecting its best season in a decade.

Colorado Potato Shipments

Walked into my local Wal-Mart  supermarket in northeastern Oklahoma May 5 and the first thing customers saw were of bins of Colorado russets.  They were priced at 75 cents for a 5-pound bag.  Why don’t they just give them away!  The San Luis Valley of Colorado is shipping over 600 truck loads of potatoes a week.

Colorado potatoes – grossing about $1600 to Dallas.

Wisconsin Potato Shipments

Potato loadings are coming out of Central Wisconsin.  Volume is averaging around 250 truck loads per week.

Wisconsin potatoes – grossing about $950 to Chicago.

North Carolina Sweet Potato Shipments

Sweet potato shipments, primarily from Eastern North Carolina, are having pretty steady volume from week to week.  The Tarheel State is averaging about 250 truck loads being shipped a week.



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Produce Shipments Near for MI “Grass,” GA Onions and Mexican Grapes

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DSCN0472+1Produce shipments will be starting soon involving Michigan asparagus, Vidalia onions, and grapes from Mexico.

Michigan asparagus shipments will get underway within the next week or so.  While the Great Lakes State’s asparagus has traditionally been more of a local crop, Chicago has historically been a big market.  Now, loadings are destined to markets in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee and even to Georgia.  Another change is the crop used to go mainly to processors, but now keeps shifting more to fresh.  For the first time last year Michigan shipped 12 million pounds of “grass” for fresh markets, compared to 10 million pounds for processing.  This year fresh shipments are projected to increase by another five to 10 percent.

Michigan apple shipments – grossing about $3000 to Dallas.

Vidalia Onion Shipments

Concerning more produce shipments, while the Georgia Department of Agriculture has set April 25th as the official date Vidalia onions can be packed and shipped, in truth, every year the sweet onion is shipped prior to this date.  The catch is it cannot be legally shipped under the Vidalia name prior to the official starting date.  Shipping prior to official date increases the chances of the onions being “hot” and doesn’t help the image of the brand.  Much of that is because early onion pungency levels are too high, making them taste hot instead of sweet.

Vidalia onions can only be grown in parts of a 20-county area in the southeastern part of Georgia.  Last season, farmers harvested 268 million pounds of Vidalia onions from 11,200 acres. Value of production for last year’s crop exceeded $120 million.

Southern Georgia produce shipments – greens, carrots – grossing about $2200 to New York City.

Mexican Grape Shipments

As most Mexican vegetables crossing the U.S. border at Nogales wind down this time of year, an exception is grapes.  The harvest in Mexico begins the first week of May.  Mexican grape shipments soon follow, with volume increasing as Memorial Day approaches.  Peak Mexican grape shipments will occur during June, then quickly wind down in early July.  Estimates are sketchy right now, but early indications are that a  good, but not record crop will be available for hauling.

Mexican melons, mangoes, veggies through Nogales – grossing about $3200 to Chicago.

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An Outlook for U.S. Sweet Onion, and Red Potato Shipments

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DSCN7173Sweet onion shipments are lower this season from Texas and Mexico as we move closer to loadings out of Vidalia, GA.  Red potatoes are picking up in one state, while showing disappointment in another.

Peruvian sweet onion imports ended in early March as imports began from Mexico.  However, Mexican onion imports are lower this season and are now starting to wind down. At the same time, Texas onion shipments from the Lower Rio Grande Valley have started.

Initial reports indicate Texas acreage will be under 5,000 acres, down from the 6,000-acre industry norm.   Still, Texas onion shipments are now in good volume.

However, the nation’s biggest volume sweet onions come out of the Vidalia, GA area.   Vidalia onion shipments are scheduled to get underway April 25th.   A near perfect growing season has been reported from Vidalia.  This season, Vidalia should have production from about 11,600, down a little from a year ago, when there was over 12,000 acres.

The Vidalia region’s 65 growers in 2015, shipped 17% of Georgia onion shipments in April, 36% were moved in May, 27% in June, 16% in July and 3% in August.  Total shipments of Georgia onions were about 4.2 million 40-pound cartons in 2015.

Red Potato Shipments

Fresh shippers in the Red River Valley are seeing a boost in shipments, the result of a Florida red potato crop that has been hit by weather problems.

The Red River Valley (eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota) usually has its biggest shipments during November and December, but a bumper Wisconsin red crop and a weak Canadian dollar over-supplied a market resulting in fewer shipments.   This year February and March are believed to be the two busiest months with 539,000 hundredweight (cwt.) shipped from the Valley in February, up over 13% compared to last year, and slightly more than either November or December.  Some wash plants have added extra shifts to handle the demand and trucks have been in good supply thanks in part to the slowdown of the oil patch in western North Dakota.

Meanwhile, the later Florida crop is expected to be better, but who knows for sure considering the early Florida crop didn’t live up to expectations.  South Florida red potato shipments are expected to increase in early April.

South Florida potatoes, tomatoes and vegetables – grossing about $2100 to New York City.

Red River Valley potatoes – grossing about $3000 to Dallas.


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