Following the April 19 start to the Vidalia onion season, supplies are currently abundant.
“We’re in our fresh season as harvest continues and we have all sizes available,” says Cliff Riner, crop Research and development manager for G&R Farms based in Glennville, GA. “We are also storing Jumbos and some mediums for our retailer partners to last into late summer.”
Cliff Riner of G&R Farms.
Supplies this year are better than last year's crop given the heavy rainfalls experienced last year that led to a smaller crop. “We started earlier this year and have had great yields and fantastic quality. We have less than a week to finish clipping, so most of our product is in house and away from the elements,” says Riner.
Vidalia onions have been met this season with strong demand. “We did see more movement early in the season due to the freeze in Texas. But normally demand picks up during that time as well,” says Riner. Spikes in demand are anticipated as the summer begins and around the Memorial Day and July 4th holidays.
Demand not softening
All of this follows an already strong season for Vidalias in 2020. “We started seeing demand pick up dramatically during the 2020 season due to COVID-19--because consumers stocked up on onions as a staple item,” says Riner. In turn, that demand has stayed strong throughout the Peruvian season, which runs August through March.
“We expect this will continue through our entire Vidalia season and we may see a shift with more foodservice picking up and as the country begins opening back up. But we also expect good demand with families cooking out and getting together for the summer as well.”
Also helping with movement on G&R’s part is the expansion of its annual Growing America’s Farmers promotion, entering its six year this month and includes activities in-store and online. G&R also recently redesigned its Vidalia onion bag, box and bin packaging as well. “The design includes new photography showcasing our third-generation family farm along with our "Grown with Passion, Served with Pride" tagline,” says G&R’s Heidi McIntyre. “The new look has provided us with an opportunity to tell our story, especially on our new Vidalia bag packaging.”
G&R says its new look allows the grower to tell its story.
As for pricing, it has remained steady. “The only change has been freight rates--going forward, freight rates and availability are our bigger concern because freight has had the biggest impact on getting the onions to the retailer,” says Riner.