Country Sweet Produce's Gina Pettit Discusses Onion Program, Expanded Organics, and More
- by Jordan Okumura
BAKERSFIELD, CA - Summer is just around the corner, and while the produce department is always my favorite destination in the thick of the warmer months at retail, it is even more so during this time of year. Continuing to add value and flavor to the fresh produce spread this season, Country Sweet Produce is generating excitement with its onion program and bringing fresh new elements to the floor.
At the top of the list this year, Country Sweet will be promoting its conventional true flat sweet onion and one-stop organic onion shop as well. I caught up with Gina Pettit, Marketing and Specialty Sales Manager, to learn more about the summer offerings.
“We have seen the market shift more and more into the organic arena and, in an effort to meet the needs of a wide range of retail partners and consumers, we will have had a heavy focus on the organic segment in addition to our conventional offerings. There will be a much larger crop this year, something that we are incredibly excited about,” Gina tells me. “Our flat sweet onion program has experienced amazing growth as well, and we have invested in acreage to bring a unique and high quality product to the marketplace.”
Country Sweet’s onion programs will kick off on June 1st with the conventional program wrapping up around the end of August or beginning of September. On the organic front, the company will be extending its program into October and November, just in time for holiday spreads and savory fall meals. The ultimate goal for the organic program? To extend it into a year-round offering.
“To continue to build on the popularity of the sweets program, we will be showcasing a new Bako Sweet flat sweet onion bag for organic and conventional,” Gina shares. “This allows for us and the retailer to call out the category to the consumer and also to help prevent the premium onion variety from being misrung at the register,” Gina shares.
The full program for Country Sweet, in its entirety, will include the true flat sweet onions in organic and conventional, as well as organic and conventional red Italian, and round yellow, white, and red onions as well.
“We are already having conversations with retailers who are looking to promote this growing program, so the time is now to put your onion inventory plans in motion,” Gina reflects, “especially with the high-demand we are seeing in the market right now.”
In addition to the evolution in its onion program, Country Sweet is also introducing watermelons to its growing portfolio. The company will now offer conventional and organic seedless watermelons, and organic mini watermelons, which will be available around June 1st to further add value to its retail relationships.
The watermelon program can be showcased in bulk bins and cartons for customers looking to add that splash of color and flavor to their watermelon program.
“Our customers’ needs come first and these new developments across the Country Sweet Program are a reflection of that goal,” Gina adds.
Exciting times at Country Sweet Produce, and I sense an exciting summer ahead as well.