J&D's Jeff Brechler Discusses Game-Changing HoneySweet® Onions
- by Chandler James
EDINBURG, TX - Who doesn’t love the perfect onion to compliment their dish? Well, definitely some. My sister, for example, will sort out every onion no matter how small we mince. Onions aren’t palatable for everyone. J&D Produce saw the tragedy in this and set out to create a mild-tasting sweet onion for everyone to enjoy. We sat down with Jeff Brechler to find out more about J&D’s HoneySweet® onion program.
“Folks are migrating from other states to Texas and are being introduced to the HoneySweet for the first time. They comment on the flavor, and how they have never tasted an onion so mild. Even if they’re not an onion lover, when a recipe calls for an onion, this is their go-to,” said Jeff.
The low pungency of HoneySweet onions is due in large part to the extensive testing carried out by J&D.
“We focus our testing efforts on the pungency of an onion, we’re not too concerned about sugar content,” Jeff boasted. “The industry classifies a sweet onion as testing between a 1 and 5 with 5 being hot and our HoneySweets are consistently testing between 1.5 to 2.5.”
But how do I get my sister to give this onion a try?
“The trick is getting new consumers to taste it for the first time. Once they do, they’re hooked. Our goal is to continue introducing the HoneySweet onion to new customers and expanding our reach," Jeff said. "If we promote the flavor as well as overall health and wellness of eating fruits and veg, we’ll be better for it.”
The company is invested in its home state, as Texas’ soil content is teeming with nutrients that promote growth of fruits and vegetables. J&D, along with Viva Fresh Board member and company President James Bassetti, is a fierce advocate for health, wellness, and taste in the produce industry, providing the company solid ground on which to stand.
New to J&D’s program is the availability of organic onions year-round. The company has organic certification in all producing areas, now with the addition of Peru. New to the program this year will be Peruvian organic onions. With this in mind, we asked Jeff what the current state of the HoneySweet onion program is.
“The Peruvian crop is progressing nicely and we anticipate seeing arrivals in the first ten days of October,” replied Jeff. “The Vidalia crop went a little bit longer than what initially anticipated, so we’re just now getting through and seeing a full transition from Vidalia to New Mexico.”
With organics on the rise, J&D is continuously working towards consistency in the market. According to Jeff, the company measures its growth in acres, and that has doubled in the past few years since it began the organic HoneySweet onion program. There’s no guarantee how retailers will allocate space for organic products, but J&D is working with its retail partners to extend the three- to four-month offering period to ten to twelve months.
“Not everyone is on an organic program in retail. It becomes a regional and time thing, there’s different thought processes on which item to devote space to and for how long to carry that item,” Jeff added.
Despite the market’s rise and fall, HoneySweet onions maintain their consistency by using the same seed variety for each crop. The size, shape, and taste are all essential components of the product’s unique makeup.
We, at AndNowUKnow, marvel at the innovation of this product. I know one thing’s for sure: my sister will reconsider onions. Stick with us for more produce news coming your way.