Bland Farms' Delbert Bland Talks Sweet Onions
- by Robert Schaulis
GLENNVILLE, GA - Vidalia onion season may be months away, but many in the produce community are already beginning to plot out programs and hotly anticipate the some of the sweetest, mildest onions around. How is the market for sweet onions shaping up as we round into the homestretch of winter? To answer that, I turned to Bland Farms’ President and Owner Delbert Bland, who told me that the sweet onion market is making for a strong spring and summer season.
“The onion market is getting pretty good right now,” Delbert explained. “The onion market out of Mexico is going to be in the low-20s right now. In turn, Texas has not got a huge crop; they’re down in acreage, and supply is going to be somewhat limited. Vidalia is down in acreage, and all indications, right now, suggest it’s going to be a pretty strong market through the spring and the beginning of the summer.”
While Vidalias are a ways away, Bland Farms is currently transitioning from its Peruvian import season to its Mexico operations—supplying out of both countries for the next few weeks until the company transitions completely into Mexico during the second half of March.
Delbert also noted that, due to a shortage in Mexico, demand for sweet onions in the U.S. will most likely continue to outpace supply, and the company is in a unique position growing out of the Tampico, Tamaulipas, area.
“Sizing and quality is good at this point, but supplies are limited down there. The only volume you’re going to see coming out of there is out of the Tampico area; that’s where we grow our crop at,” Delbert explained. “Overall there’s still a shortage of onions in Mexico, so a lot of the onions that would normally be coming across to the States are staying in-country, where consumption of onions per household is tremendous compared to the U.S. market. When they’re in short supply that’s a big deal.”
Vidalia fans will have to wait until the middle of April till Georgia begins shipping, but Delbert told me, though acreage is down, the quality of the crop looks to be good.
“Usually a very strong Texas and Mexico deal sets the pace for Vidalia to be pretty good,” Delbert added.
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