Onions in the Kitchen and the Laboratory and the garden in progress

Lee Poulsen wpoulsen@pacbell.net
Fri, 11 Jun 2010 11:04:07 PDT

James Waddick wrote:
> 	For some reasons onions have been extremely expensive for the 
> last couple of months here. Normally in the 30-40 cents/lb, recently 
> they have been above $1 /lb and ranged pretty close to $2/lb for a 
> while. And some specialty onions (red) have been over $2/lb.  Wonder 
> why? Oil spill?

I  get my onion seedlings from a place in southern Texas (Dixondale 
Farms); one, because their prices are so incredibly cheap, but two, also 
because they offer the best selection of short-day onions varieties that 
I've found, which are necessary for getting onions to form nice sized 
bulbs in the southern states of the U.S. And they offer them at the 
correct time for planting. Anyway, they've started a monthly informative 
email that I signed up for. And the one that just arrived had this to 
say in answer to Jim's question:

"Onion prices were the highest they had been in several years, so all 
the farmers [we] visited were in great moods. We normally ship around 
150 million plants to the [Vidalia] region; that accounts for about 10% 
of the total acreage for the area. The rest are grown by the farmers 
themselves in their own seedbeds.

The highest prices were for red onions; and even though there's no such 
thing as the red Vidalia onion, Stanley Farms grew our Red Candy Apple 
variety and was extremely satisfied with the sweetness and size. Of 
course, getting over $1.00 per pound for red onions didn't hurt 
anything. The high prices were due to a shortage of onions, which 
started in February with the storage crop grown in the Northwest, and 
spread to the Mexican crop, the Rio Grande Valley, and the Vidalia 
region. Yields were down considerably, and there were some fields with 
as much as 50% seedstems -- but the rules of supply versus demand made 
for a profitable year for most onion growers."


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