Loading…

Strong Peruvian onion crop following good Vidalia season

Delbert Bland, owner and president of Vidalia, GA-based Bland Farms LLC, estimates that he has been going to the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit for a quarter century — and he’ll be in Orlando again in October.

“Naturally, we’ll be promoting sweet onions, which is what we are known for,” he told The Produce News about a month before the convention and trade show kicks off. “We’ll have our sweet onions from Peru.”PeruPremium-1

Bland noted that the company grows the exact same variety in Peru that made Vidalia famous. “They look the same, they taste the same and they are the same shape,” he said, adding that consumers cannot tell the onions apart. “I can’t even tell the difference and I grow them.”

Bland Farms attempts to produce a steady volume of onions all year with a seamless transition from one district to the next. He said the company offers onions in just about every pack there is so it will not be featuring anything new or out of the ordinary at the PMA convention.  “Just the same good quality onions,” he quipped. “We had a fairly good year in Vidalia with very good quality. We did have some adverse weather, which cut down the size of the onions, but overall it was a decent year.”

He said Peru is following suit. “We do our own growing in Peru so we have control over it. We have a very good onion this year.”

For the October time frame, Bland said there would be good supplies, though not a “flood of onions on the market. The price is usually pretty steady and around that time there should be enough volume for promotions.”

Bland Farms is also marketing more organic sweet onions from Peru this season. “We have a good crop and it seems to be a popular item with more demand every year,” he said, adding that growing conditions in Peru make it a bit easier to produce an organic onion crop in that South American country than in Georgia. “We don’t have the weed problem in Peru that we have in Vidalia so you can get by with a little less work.”

However, he added that growing an organic onion crop is inherently more difficult than a conventional onion and takes several years of experience to learn how to do it right.

At the time of this interview in mid-September, Bland said the first fields of sweet potatoes in Georgia were nearing maturity. “Harvest will begin soon and we should have Georgia sweet potatoes by Oct. 1 and run through April.”

For the summer months, North Carolina is the source for sweet potatoes, giving Bland Farms another crop that it produces on a 12-month basis, and another commodity to tout to convention-goers during Fresh Summit.

“PMA is a very important show for us,” Bland said.  “It’s the one main show we go to every year. We take a lot of our people there and make it a big deal.”

Western Growers mourns longtime staffer Tom Oliveri
Tom (Tommy O) Oliveri, a longtime Western Growers staffer who retired from the association in January 2018, several months shy of his 40th anniversary, died in his home Thursday morning, May 28. He was 67. Over four decades, Mr. Oliveri demonstrated uncommon dedication to the WG membership, establishing himself as a Read More ...
Homegrown Organic Farms earns EFI certification, shipping labeled product next week
Homegrown Organic Farms announced its certification from Equitable Food Initiative for its California-grown, organic stone fruit.  This certification demonstrates Homegrown Organic Farms’ dedication to the improved lives of its direct employees and all those associated with their organization.  EFI-labeled product will Read More ...
Buehler’s names new EVP of sales and marketing
Buehler’s Fresh Foods, a leading supermarket chain in northeast Ohio, promoted Mike Davidson to the position of executive vice president of sales and marketing. In Davidson’s new role his responsibilities include oversight of all current sales and merchandising departments, marketing, customer insights, central kitchen Read More ...
Patrinka Crammond joins Shanley Farms
Citriburst Finger Lime grower Shanley Farms has added Patrinka Crammond in business and program development. Crammond, has an extensive background in the produce industry, most recently seven years with Savor Fresh Farms Kiss Melon program in sales and retail program development. “With many retail relationships and experience Read More ...
John Vena launches new site
John Vena Inc. has been in the produce business for a century. As the company approached its hundredth anniversary in 2019, President John Vena, the third generation of the Vena family at the helm, decided it was time to bring his team’s expertise to life online. The colorful website offers a host of new features. The Read More ...

Market Watch

the source pro-act

Western growing regions getting hit by rain, cooler temps

floral pulse