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A spring outlook on Vidalia onions

Vidalia season is underway and Keystone Fruit Marketing offers up an outlook on its Sugar Sweet onion season.

Seasonal timing
Vidalia season started on April 17 and Matthew Gideon, onion commodity manager, says demand has been strong out of the gate. “Everyone in the region experienced some challenging weather during the growing period, but we are pleased with the quality so far,” he says.

Grower history
One of Keystone’s grower partners for Vidalias is the Cowart family.

Keystone has a rich history with the Cowarts, cultivated over a decades-long partnership and Gideon says the Cowarts are known in farming circles for setting tough standards in the business and doing whatever it takes to exceed them. “This allows us to supply our customers with the type of quality that they have grown to expect from Keystone,” says Gideon.

Right: Matthew Gideon

The family began growing Vidalia onions in 1984 on their farm in Lyons, Georgia in the heart of Toombs County. The farm has been passed down through four generations of Cowarts, and today is owned and operated by Anthony and Jimmy Cowart. The trio’s farm includes a little over 600 acres of Vidalia onions each year, and they also grow a large amount of corn and soybeans.

Challenges for the season
Looking ahead, Gideon says one challenge will be keeping up with sweet onion demand. “We have a loyal year-round customer base for sweet onions--from our Mexican Mayans to the Sugar Sweet Vidalias to our Peruvian Mayan Sweets. The biggest challenge will be making sure customers continue getting the quality and value they demand. We spend countless hours planning out the season from both a supply standpoint and an ad standpoint,” he says.

How to use sweet onions
Known as “America’s favorite sweet onion” Gideon says Sugar Sweets are a staple in his own kitchen. “I use Vidalia onions in various ways,” he says. “I’ve done everything from fresh ceviche to shrimp etouffee using them. The great thing about a sweet onion is its versatility! The possibilities are endless.”

For more information:
M. Andrea Scroggs
Keystone Fruit Marketing
Tel: +1 (717) 597-2112
[email protected]    

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