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Category Insight- Total U.S. Snapshot - Onions

Potato Market Update

The russet potato market remains stable, with steady to slightly slower demand. Overall, size profiles throughout the country remain smaller than usual. All areas appear to be comfortable with their current supply until the new crop arrives.

Red River Valley growers have been able to bring steady supplies despite their weather issues last year. Some sheds are expecting to have availability in April and possibly May. Growers in Wisconsin are done for the season and red potato supply is in limited hands. Florida growers will be coming to market with new crop red potatoes early next month.

Growers in Wisconsin have finished their storage crop yellow potatoes supply for the year. Colorado, North Dakota, Minnesota and Idaho still have product available for the next several months. New crop yellow potatoes will be available in the next couple of weeks, but at a higher cost.

Storage crop white potatoes are still available in the Northeast. New Crop white potatoes will soon be available from growers in Florida and California. Most of this product will remain in those areas.

Storage crop fingerling potatoes are available in Colorado, Idaho and Washington. Demand remains steady with steady pricing. New crop fingerlings will soon be available from growers in California and Florida but at a substantially higher cost.

Onions are in good supply from growers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wisconsin, Michigan and New York. Quality overall has been excellent.

Mexico is expected to bring new crop onions to market towards the end of this month, ramping up in February.

Onion Market Update

The yellow onion market remains steady with excellent demand for jumbo-sizes. The medium-size yellow market is dropping off slightly due to growers’ ample supply of smaller-size onions.

Growers in Mexico started bringing white onion supplies to market, leading to a downward trend in demand and pricing in the United States last week. A handful of growers in the Columbia Basin has finished with its supplies of white onions for the season.

Reds: Red onions remain available from growers across the country. Demand and pricing continue to be soft as we head into February.

New crop onions from growers in Texas are expected to be available in early March and lasts into May.

Our commitment to our customers is to maximize the quality of the potato, onion, and other products we provide to you. We invest heavily in understanding crop-growing conditions, the constraints the climate can put on the crop and designing management systems and selecting varieties that overcome limitations on the quality of the crop.

The opportunity for quality improvement is nearly limitless due to the numerous biotic and abiotic factors that can negatively impact the quality of potatoes. Regardless of the potato category, from organic to commercial, Tasteful Selections® to Biggins®, the management systems are designed to optimize productivity, maximize efficiency and deliver products that meet your expectations on a daily basis. Our goal is to grow the potatoes sustainably and deliver products with maximum customer satisfaction.

In the future, we will detail how different defects develop and the steps our growers and packers take to minimize the defect and optimize quality. The largest quality concerns within the potato crop can be broken into multiple categories from factors affecting the crop in the field, storages and after packaging. We will highlight some of the common defects, where they originate and follow up with more detail on specific quality factors in the future.

Many defects develop during the growth and development of the crop. Starting the crop off with good seed is a critical first step to producing potatoes with good shape, skin finish and ultimately the optimal size within a category. We will fully discuss the list of physiological and pathogenic factors originating in seed in the future. Our commitment too high-quality products has led us to invest in early generation seed farms and create partnerships with numerous other seed farms to improve the quality of fresh packaged potatoes.

Once the crop is growing, we are concerned about numerous diseases such as early and late blight (the same disease that caused the Irish Potato Famine), silver scurf, Rhizoctonia, black dot, powdery scab, common scab and dozens of others that can reduce yield and diminish crop quality. Physiological disorders such as hollow heart, brown center, heat necrosis, growth cracks, elephant hide, etc., are caused by climatic or soil conditions that we try to overcome.

We constantly are on the search for varieties with improved tolerance or resistance to pathogens and climatic conditions that lead to defects or deterioration of quality while potatoes are growing in the field. We recently shared our general approach to potato storage, and how we manage that to minimize loss of quality of potatoes after harvest.

RPE has a full complement of quality assurance personnel and agronomists that are fully committed to improving the quality of our products. We are more than happy to share our understanding of conditions, pathogens, or events that can lead to quality deterioration and share our approach to preventing or minimizing defects. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about the potatoes you’ve received or the steps to take to manage quality.

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Our knowledge and eagerness to learn has fostered the ambition allowing Tasteful Selections to grow to the company that we know and love today. Check out the Tasteful Selections website.