Importers of Peruvian onions expect ample supplies of high-quality product heading into the holidays.

Courtesy Shuman Produce

Melbourne, Fla.-based Sweet Onion Trading Co. and other importers encouraged Peruvian exporter to rein in shipments a bit in mid-October, said Barry Rogers, Sweet Onion’s president.

“They were coming a bit strong, moving the market with volume,” he said.

Markets were likely to bottom out in late October and early November at about $15 per carton, Rogers said, before rising again with Thanksgiving demand. Holiday markets would likely top out in the low $20s, he said.

On Oct. 26, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $19-20 for 40-pound boxes of jumbo and colossal sweet onions from Peru, up from $15-16 last year at the same time.

John Shuman, president of Shuman Produce Inc., Reidsville, Ga., reported very good quality, peak volumes and steady demand in late October.

Shuman expected prices to be relatively steady heading into November. Volumes would likely be consistent through December, he said.

Total volumes for the season could be 10% higher than in 2009-10, down from earlier projections of a 30% boost, Rogers said.

Peruvian volumes were expected to be up for Shuman Produce this season due to new plantings, but volumes industrywide will likely be down, Shuman said.

Through late October, Shuman Produce’s volumes year-to-date were up 19% over last season, while total industry imports were down 21%, Shuman said.

Sizing is a bit smaller than last season, Rogers said, but not small enough to pose marketing challenges.

Shuman reported a good mix of sizes heading into late fall, with about 75% jumbos and 25% mediums. Colossals, which made up as much as 40% of imports earlier in the deal, posing some marketing challenges, will be in shorter supply in the coming months, Shuman said.

Shuman Produce, which plants two crops in Peru, expects arrivals into late January or early February, extending the deal three or four weeks later than other importers, Shuman said.