Posts Tagged “Vidalia onion shipments”

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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Texas Shipments Gaining on Calif; Vidalia Volume is Down

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DSCN5899Texas appears to be gaining ground on California when it comes to fresh produce shipments…..In Georgia, Vidalia onion shipments apparently will be down overall as product is now coming out of storage.

Texas produce shipments are becoming ever more important when it comes to spot rates for refrigerated loads.  This appears to be due to increased fruit and vegetable production in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, plus more imports than ever from Mexico, as well as shift in demand from California in part because of the prolonged drought.

Although California had regained the top spot in late June, Texas volumes in the spot refrigerated freight market has surpassed California for the first time in early June, according to Mark Montague, manger of industry pricing for DAT Solutions.

Lower Rio Grande Valley watermelons and Mexican produce crossing the border – grossing about $2700 to Chicago.

Vidalia Onion Shipments

Vidalia onion shipments will be down as much as 40 percent this season for some shippers.  Whether the reduction is due to excessive rains, or spring weather having too hot of temperatures, opinions vary.  But shipments will be down, it’s just a matter of how much, since some shippers appear to have been hit harder than others.  Vidalia onions are now being shipped out of storage, which can be “ify” some years when adverse weather or disease creates quality issues.

Southeastern Georgia Vidalia onions, as well as Southern Georgia bell peppers, sweet corn, eggplant, watermelons and squash – grossing about $3000 to New York City.



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The Outlook for Vidalia Onion, Georgia Peach Shipments

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IMG_5515Produce truckers should find good seasons ahead for two of Georgia most popular agricultural commodities – Vidalia sweet onions and peaches.

The largest amount of Vidalia onion shipments is expected since 2011.  The industry may ship at least 5 million 40-pound equivalents this year, which would be close to its 10-year average.  In other words, an average size crop is seen. The past three years have been rough on Vidalia onion shipments because of downy mildew, seed stems and freezing temperatures hitting shortly before harvest in 2012, 2013 and 2014.   The reported total volumes shipped in the past three seasons were:

  • 2012 — 4.4 million 40-pound equivalents;
  • 2013 — 5.6 million 40-pound equivalents;
  • 2014 — 4.7 million 40-pound equivalents.

Georgia Peach Shipments

Growers anticipate seeing the first shipments of fruit the week of May 18th.  Varieties include the Flavorich, which will start around Memorial Day, all the way to the August Prince in late August. Weather has been on the side of Georgia peach growers so far this year. Each year, Georgia produces more than 80 million pounds of the fruit from mid-May to mid-August, and the vast majority of fruit is picked, packed and shipped the same day.

90 percent of Georgia Peaches are grown in a 10,000-acre area known as the Fort Valley Plateau.

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Texas Onion Shipments are Starting This Week; Vidalia follows Soon

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DSCN0557+1The first domestic sweet onion shipments in the U.S.  should get underway this week from South Texas, with product from Georgia shortly afterwards.

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.




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Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Shipments are Mostly Later and Lighter Than Normal

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DSCN0559Georgia produce shipments play an important role, particularly this time of the year, as it supplies a significant amount of fruit and vegetables, especially to the eastern half of the country.  Here is a run down on current and coming loading opportunities from Georgia.

Before getting started, let it be said that Georgia has joined much of the nation with some disruptive weather that has delayed normal starts in shipping and is continuing to result in supply gaps where more product will be available for loading some weeks more than others.  In general, a lot of the volume that would usually be available in May has been pushed back into June.  With few exceptions volume will be lighter this season.


Bell Peppers and Cukes

In central and southern Georgia, bell pepper shipments will not have significant volume until June.  Cucumber shipments initially start this week, with better volume coming at the end of May.  Both items should be available through June.

Squash, Cabbage and Eggplant

Squash loadings recently started, but too many plants have been lost to cold and excessive rains.  Volume will be down significantly this year.  Cabbage shipments also are underway, but no big crop here.  Georgia epplant faces a similar situation.

Sweet Corn and Green Beans

Sweet corn shipments, as well as green bean shipments should be in better shape than previously mentioned vegetables.  Beans have already started, with sweet corn getting underway in late May.

Vidalia Onion Shipments

Most shipments of Vidalia sweet onions started April 21st or later.  While volume has been increasing in May, June will provide peak loading opportunities.

Blueberry Shipments

Georgia blueberries have been underway for three to four weeks and are now moving in good volume.  However, no huge crop is seen.

Peaches and Watermelons

Early Georiga peaches were hit hard by freezing weather.  Very limited loadings will be occurring into mid June, when volume starts improving.   However, serious shipments will not come until July.

Georgia watermelon shipments start in a limited way in mid June.  With the late start melon loadings should continue into mid July, instead of the Fourth of July.

Vidalia onions – grossing about $3500 to New York City.

Georgia mixed vegetables – about $2700 to New York City.





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