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Bland Farms touts its sweet onion offerings

When asked how this year’s crop of Peruvian Onions is looking, Delbert Bland enthusiastically replied, “It’s always good in Peru.”

The Peruvian onion season is a vital aspect of Bland Farms’ business, as onions from Peru allow the grower to provide sweet onions all year long.

FamilyFront: Leah Bland, Courtney Bland, Sandra Bland and Mary Katelyn Bland. Back: Landis Bland, Delbert Bland and Troy Bland.“We offer a sweet onion every day of the year,” said Bland, president and owner of the Glenville, GA-based company. “As Vidalia’s are finishing, which this year they’ll run until about the later part of August, we will have already received a good many Perus and be in the full swing of the Peru season as we finish the Vidalia season. So we never miss shipments, we continue to ship the sweet onion.”

Bland is bullish about the onions coming out of Peru this season and feels things are as strong as ever with the crop.

“The crop there is excellent,” he said. “The growing conditions where we grow onions out of Peru are absolutely perfect. And very much different than trying to grow onions in Georgia because Georgia probably has one of the worst climates to grow onions in with all the moisture and humidity we have. Peru probably has one of the best climates to grow onions in.”

Bland Farms grows its own onions in Peru on about 1,200 to 1,500 acres of land.

“We have a complete operation in Peru,” he said. “We do all of our growing and maintaining of the crops, oversee the crops and produce them ourselves.”

Bland Farms has been growing Vidalia onions in Georgia for decades and provides about half of the Vidalia volume. The company distributes onions throughout the lower 48 states and into Canada.

Bland said that in the 20 years his company has been growing onions in Peru, there have been virtually zero problems with crops. “It’s the most consistent quality onion you’ll ever see,” he said.

Peruvians also are very similar to Vidalia onions. When asked if foodies look forward to the Peruvian onion season, Bland said it’s more about continuing to offer consumers onions that are similar in flavor and appearance to Vidalias.

“If you bite into a Peru onion and Vidalia onion, you can’t tell any difference, they’re both very, very sweet,” he said. “In my opinion, they’re the two sweetest onions that are produced in the world.”

Earlier this year, Bland Farms introduced its line of smaller onions, LilO’s, and Bland says those are proving popular.

“They’re doing very well for us and we’re pretty excited about going into the fall season with them,” Bland said. “They’re really useful, they’re great for stews and roasts and cooking.”

 Additionally, Bland said the keys to success come down to three important factors — service, quality, and price, and that in this era, having all three is vital. That wasn’t the case years ago.

“If you had two out of three you could do business and do it very well,” Bland said. “With today’s market and the way things are, you have to have all three. Things are much more competitive than they were years ago, but there’s still a way to do it if you do it right.”