Bland Farms Ramps Up for Vidalia® Season Start Date
- by Chandler James
GLENNVILLE, GA - How sweet it is to be narrowing in on the official start date for the Vidalia® onion season. As the world begins to bloom in tandem with the beginning of spring, buyers and shoppers alike anxiously await the arrival of these onions on the shelf. Bland Farms is well positioned to exceed expectations this season, and I recently got the inside scoop from CEO Troy Bland.
“As always, we look forward to providing our customers with the highest quality Vidalia sweet onions, and we should have great promotional volumes available for the official start date of the season,” Troy began. “We did have a little colder winter than normal, but cold weather can help to produce a sweeter onion. Now that it’s April, the Vidalia sweet onion bulbs are growing quickly, as bulbing is triggered by the lengthening daylight hours and warmer weather in the springtime.”
Bland Farms is currently finishing up with its Peru sweet onion crop and will continue with its Texas and Mexican sweet onions until April 12. Afterward, the grower will transition to its Georgia sweets, with the Vidalia season kicking off April 19.
Troy explained that much like last year, the current pricing on sweet onions is up. Demand continues to be very strong for the category, and Bland is expecting this pricing to continue as adverse weather patterns led to a decrease in acreage.
“The pandemic greatly impacted us during our Vidalia season last year, and we are expecting this trend to continue through our 2021 season,” added Allison Keen, Marketing Coordinator. “As people started cooking at home rather than going out to restaurants, we saw an increase in sales for our Vidalia onions. Vidalias are not commonly served in restaurants, so this shift toward cooking at home increased exposure and demand at the store level. Once people tried them, they were hooked.”
Also generating excitement at Bland Farms is the supplier’s announcement that its new state-of-the-art packing facility will be operational just in time for Vidalia season.
“The facility is fully climate controlled, allowing us to control the humidity, airflow, and temperature throughout every stage of the drying and packing process,” Troy continued. “Maintaining the cold chain throughout packing will result in less damage, improved appearance, increased pack-out, and longer shelf-life, ultimately providing our customers with a better quality and more consistent supply.”
The company is also kicking off its “Get Out Back!” campaign to back the start of the Vidalia season. With new recipe ideas and tips for entertaining, the campaign will inspire customers to fire up the grill and enjoy more Bland Farms Vidalia sweet onions. It will be featured on Bland Farms’ and Vidalia Brands’ displays, POS, website, and social channels, creating plenty of opportunities for the buy-side to capture sales. Additionally, Bland will be hosting a national retail display contest with grilling-themed prizes. The company has partnered with HERO grills and will be giving the prizes out to the winners, along with cash prizes and MEATER digital thermometers.
As new and exciting varieties continue to enter the produce aisle, keep reading us here at ANUK.