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Sweet Onion Trading Co., headquartered in Melbourne, FL, has been a member of the Southeast Produce Council since 2003, and has been exhibiting at the Southern Exposure Retail & Foodservice Conference & Expo since 2005.

Barry Rogers, chief executive officer and president, told The Produce News that besides himself, Kelly Connell, sales manager for the company will be representing Sweet Onion Trading at booth number 217 at the Southern Exposure expo.

In addition to promoting its full line of sweet onions from around the world, the company will also be telling customers about its current testing in Central America.

“We are currently doing tests in Central America, after taking a few years off in the region,” said Mr. Rogers. “If the test goes well, we will proceed with commercial volumes in the area.”

Mr. Rogers founded Sweet Onion Trading in 2001. A produce industry veteran, he was among the first to promote year-round sweet onions as his business model. To launch his new business, Mr. Rogers found domestic and international growers to plant his Granex seed, which he said is the same seed used to grow “Vidalia” onions, in various locations in and outside the United States.

Sweet Onion Trading’s sweet onions are harvested at the peak of sweetness and maturity. They are carefully dug and left on top of the ground to harden the outer onion skins in the sun, which ensures a longer shelf-life.

The onions are then field packed by hand and shipped to one of the company’s packing facilities, which are strategically located in the United States. There they are graded, packed and shipped to stores and distribution centers across the continent.

“We will be shipping our second crop of Carolina-grown sweet onions this year,” said Mr. Rogers. “Our other crops in the U.S., Central and South America continue to perform to our high-quality standards of sweetness. And just to be sure, we have them tested and certified according to their flavor profiles.”

He added that the Southern Exposure event gives the company an opportunity to demonstrate its personalized, professional service.

“The expo gives us an opportunity to showcase our sweet onions and our wide selection of packaging options,” said Mr. Rogers.

“The event assures us of seeing buyers as well as meeting new buyers who are interested in consistent supplies of quality sweet onions year round,” he continued.

“And the casual atmosphere gives us more one-on-one time with buyers. We also enjoy socializing and networking at the gala event.”

In keeping with the Produce Traceability Initiative, Sweet Onion Trading offers scanable and human-readable GS1 Price-Look-Up, or PLUs, and Global Trade Item Numbers, commonly referred to as GTIN, an identifier for trade items developed by GS1.

“Today, just as when we began, long before a single sweet onion seed is planted, our agronomists work with growers to plan field preparation, sowing, culture and harvesting to ensure that the crop meets our strict standards of quality,” said Mr. Rogers.