Posts Tagged “Vidalia sweet onion shipments”
Initial Vidalia sweet onion shipments from Southeast Georgia got underway April 16th, despite an order from the Georgia Agricultural Commissioner that loadings would not be allowed before today — April 21st. Bland Farms, the nation’s largest sweet onion shipper has been in a legal battle with Georgia over a starting date for Vidalia sweet onion shipments. However, The Superior Court of Fulton County, GA has declared the April 21st start day void, so the rest of the Georgia sweet onion industry may or may not have started shipping before April 21st. From a hauling stand point, it may not matter that much, since it will be the first half of May before there is good volume.
The whole onion “war” pits most Vidalia shippers and the Georiga Ag Department against Bland Farms. Supporters of the fixed starting date feel the extra time will allow the onions to mature and reduce chances of shipping poor quality, hot tasting onions, that hurts the reputation of the the Vidalia name.
Delbert Bland, owner of Bland Farms told this writer last winter that he should be able to ship sweet onions prior to the April 21st date, because part of his 3,000 acres of onions are in the southern most part of the 20-county region in Georgia. This is located where these onions can be legally grown, and is in this southern most area where onions mature earlier than other areas.
I’m in Georgia this week checking out the crops and visiting with shippers to give you a better idea of loading opportunities as we progress into spring. I’m also visiting with some of you at truck stops along the Interstate 75 corridor.
Vidalia sweet onion shipments were not to legally start before April 21st (at least until a Georgia court ruled otherwise and struck it down), which was the date set by the state’s ag commissioner. Colder weather has put the onions behind schedule. Don’t expect good volume before May. While some observers are predicting shipments could be off as much as 25 percent this season, others are taking a wait and see attitude to measure yields.
Overall, you probably won’t be getting loaded in the Southeast without having multiple pick ups. That could mean starting with pick ups in Florida and finishing off the load with additional pick ups in Georgia. The volume is just not there.
Meanwhile, there is light to moderate shipments of various greens from central and southern Georgia. Items ranging from vegetables such as cucumbers and squash are still a month or more away from being harvested.
Georgia has become a major shipper of blueberries with volume increasing each year. Intial loadings of “blues” will start in April, with good volume arriving in early May.
Another big item for Georgia are watermelons. While current loadings are occurring in Florida, where the harvest gradually moves northward, and usually ends by early June. This is about the time George watermelon shipments get underway.
Finally, the Georgia peach bloom in the Fort Valley area is beautiful. Shipping should get underway the last half of May. If weather conditions hold over the next month there could be up to 2.2 million boxes of Georgia peaches shipped this season. However, there is a freeze forecast for Tuesday night, March 25th. It will take a bit to assess any damage.
— Bill Martin
Everyone from produce truckers, to produce shippers and consumers a like can’t wait for spring given the wicked winter it’s been for much of the country. The further into March we get the more volume and available loading opportunities will be, particularly with Southeastern produce shipments.
For example, Nicaraguan mangoes will be arriving in heaviest volume at South Florida ports, although some will be delivered to ports int he Northeast.
Florida blueberry shipments are just starting and will work their way northward in the state, before giving away to south Georgia blueberries in late April. Strong volume is expected in part because of a late Easter (April 20) that is closer to Mother’s Day (May 11). Florida expects to ship 25 million pounds of “blues” this season, a 14 percent increase over a year ago. Florida should peak the second and third weeks of April.
Georgia blueberry volume is also showing significant increases each year.
However, the big push comes in Florida in April with a host of mixed vegetable items reaching peak volume, particularly from southern and central parts of Florida. Good volume should continue into May.
In Georgia, Vidalia sweet onion shipments will begin in light volume in late April. Vidalia onion shipments could be down about 20 percent this year. Central and southern Georgia are currently shipping moderate amounts of greens ranging from kale to collard. Cucumbers, squash and other veggies will start maturing in April.
Florida mixed veggies, tomatoes and blueberries – grossing about $3100 to New York City.