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Shuman Produce touts its family of farms

Thanks to more than 2,000 acres devoted to Vidalia onions, Shuman Produce Inc. and its RealSweet Vidalia onions have become one of the most recognized and trusted brands of the Georgia specialty crop in the industry.

“More than 23 years ago we decided that we could do more collectively than individually,” said John Shuman, president and chief executive officer of the Reidsville, GA-based company. “That commitment to our family of farms is our strength. Our team of experts, coupled with years of combined experience, allows us to supply the very best produce to our customers — year after year.”

Vidalia-Onion-Bin-CMYKComing off the Peru season, which Shuman said was a huge success for Shuman Produce thanks to import numbers of more than 1,000 containers of sweet onions, Shuman Produce’s early projections for Vidalia are strong. He said the crops are looking great, harvest is in full swing, and yields are strong. That has created stable market prices.

“The last two years, crops produced exceptional yields. However, due to lower temperatures and colder weather, yields are expected to be back to normal,” Shuman said. “Demand for Vidalia sweet onions is strong, and we project overall industry yields will be down compared to the last two years — which were bumper crops.”

In 2018, Shuman Produce is unveiling its newly redesigned secondary display bins, which Shuman noted have an attractive design intended to grabs consumers’ attention.

“This bin is well-designed, offers helpful usage tips and health benefits,” Shuman said. “The small size makes it convenient for merchandizing with limited space. They are great to display RealSweet Vidalia onions both inside the produce department, and in other departments. Pairing items that are commonly bought with sweet onions helps drive sales throughout the store.”

The company expanded last April with the purchase of a Vidalia onion packing facility and 620 acres of farmland. Since that time, it has made extensive renovations to improve efficiencies and modernize the facility. These include a new shipping cooler, a state of the art Compac grader-sorter, new bagging machines, new drying/curing rooms and additional cold-storage capacity. They also purchased more than 9,000 new macro-plastic bins.

“Every decision we make is to improve our overall program, and to provide consistent customer service, quality and innovative marketing to our customers,” Shuman said. “Vidalia sweet onions can only grow in a small area in southeast Georgia. Our unique soil and climate are what make these onions the sweetest on the market.”

Shuman Produce understands the key to growth in the Vidalia onion industry is to educate younger generations on the many health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables.

“Making that information readily available to consumers, along with great tasting recipes, boosts the movement toward healthier food choices,” Shuman said. “This is what Produce for Kids is all about.”

Shuman founded Produce for Kids in 2002. Since then PFK has been dedicated to educating parents and children on the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, as well as supporting charitable organizations such as Feeding America. The program and its partners have raised over $6.4 million dollars benefiting children.