Vidalia onions are starting the transition from shipping fresh onions to moving into storage onions. “We finished harvesting last week and it’s about a week transition because you’re still sizing the onions that have come out of the field,” says John Williams, director of sales and marketing of LG Herndon Jr Farms.
Overall the Vidalia onion crop in Georgia is slightly down this season. “There was some loss due to the freeze at Christmas-New Year’s when the onions were pretty small still or had just been planted,” says Williams. “Though we thought the loss would be more than it is so we’re pretty pleased with how the crop turned out in terms of volume and how much we were able to put into storage.” For LG Herndon Jr. Farms, it will have good volume of Vidalias to ship through summertime.
Gaining on demand
As for demand, it’s very strong for Vidalias with steady pricing. Williams notes that the Western yellow onion supply has gotten tighter and this may open the door to promoting a sweet onion. “We see even more demand possibly ahead for our onions. There are different sized growers and some have finished up so we could pick up some business before there are any import new crop sweet onions available for June and July,” he says.
Also with summertime around the corner, there are numerous onion-associated holidays such as Memorial Day, Father’s Day and the 4th of July--all big grilling holidays. LG Herndon Jr Farms is also into its second year working with the Gary Sinise Foundation and the two weeks before Memorial Day and the two weeks leading up to the 4th of July, it co-brands its packaging with the foundation created by the Forrest Gump actor. “This year we have special display bins as well so retailers can display the 3, 4 and 5 lb. bags. We’ve had some great response to that,” says Williams, noting the company can donate up to $25,000 to the foundation as part of the partnership.