Despite some inclement weather, the 2020 Vidalia onion season is shaping up to be a nice one for Generation Farms.
“We’ve had a lot of rain, but right now, about two months out from harvest, the crop looks good. We are expecting another successful season,” Lauren Dees, sales & marketing manager at Generation Farms, based in Vidalia, GA, told The Produce News.
Generation Farms distributes its onions nationwide and also in Canada through retail, wholesale and foodservice channels. Marketing is handled by Richter & Co., which markets the onions under the Generation Farms label.
“We are the only local grower with a complete onion category,” Dees said. “We’re the only grower in the Vidalia Region that has the Vidalia onions, along with traditional red, yellow and white onions. All of those are in our organic program as well.”
Unlike some other regional growers, Generation Farms has been maintaining its onion acreage.
“We are holding steady on the Vidalia onion acreage, but we continue to increase our Organic Vidalia onion program, as well as our traditional red, yellow and white onions,” Dees said.
Growing onions is a very labor intensive practice.
“We plant the onion seeds in the field around September and then we hand transplant them in November. From the time that you’ve sown the seed, to hand transplanting and hand harvesting, there are a lot of able bodies that go into our onion program,” Dees noted.
The company works closely with seed companies to source the best onion seeds suited for the Southeastern Georgia climate, Dees said.
Offering a full range of onions to customers is helping Generation Farms build its cache, especially with younger consumers along the Eastern Seaboard.
“Millennials are gaining purchasing power and today’s consumers like to know where they food comes from. We are committed to food safety, traceability and sustainability. We are a multi generational farm, and we take pride in being what we call ‘the East Coast One Stop Shop for All of Your Onion Needs,’” Dees said.
“We are able to be on the short list for every single onion category. For our customers on the East Coast we are able to offer them less carbon footprint than from buying onions from the West Coast or importing them from other countries,” Dees said.
“We are dedicated to safe practices and allowing other generations to continue to farm for years to come,” she added.
In addition to variety, another key focus at Generation Farms is on the packaging; Generation Farms offers its onions in every configuration from an individual wrapped single onion all the way up to a 50-pound bag.
“We can do a single mesh netting wrapped Organic Vidalia onion, which is unique in the organic category because it allows retailers to capture the organic pricing,” Dees explained.
“A lot of times there can be issues where there may be slip-ups or mistakes at the register. This way you don’t lose that mark-up because it has a barcode,” Dees noted.