Posts Tagged “Vidalia onions”
Asparagus loadings out of Michigan have started. Meanwhile, here’s an update on how many potatoes remain to be shipped for the 2017-18 shipping season.
Michigan asparagus shipments are just getting underway and will continue into late June with good volumes coming in time for the Memorial weekend, May 26 – 28.
One of the larger Michigan asparagus companies that grows, packs and ships is Todd Greiner Farms Packing LLC of Hart, MI. The company recently completed a 20,000-square-foot addition to its packinghouse, which is the second expansion in the last year. This includes two new controlled atmosphere/cold storage rooms and two new shipping and receiving docks. Greiner Farms also ships other vegetables and watermelons.
Vidalia Onion Shipments
Vidalia certified sweet onions are grown in 20 southeastern Georgia counties by 80 farmers and available in the spring and summer months. However, the majority of the onions are located in only two counties. In 2017, Georgia shippers had almost 230 million pounds of Vidalia onions. Similar volume is seen this season, and shipments got underway April 20th.
U.S. Potato Shipments
U.S. potatoes remaining in storages to be shipped as of April 1st were up 2 percent from year-ago. The USDA reports the 13 major potato shipping states held 134 million cwt. of potatoes in storage. Potatoes in storage accounted for 33 percent of the fall storage states’ 2017 production, 1 percent more than last year.
Idaho potatoes remaining to be shipped totaled 50 million cwt. off 4 pecent from 52 million cwt. from last year. As a percent of production, Idaho potato stocks represented 38 percent of the state’s 2017 production, up 1 percent from a year ago.
In Washington, the state with the second-highest amount of potatoes remaining in storage, the USDA reported 30 million cwt. of potatoes. That was up 3.4 percent from 29 million cwt. the same time a year ago. Washington’s stocks accounted for 30 percent of 2017 potato shipments, up from 27 percent in 2016.
Idaho potatoes from Twin Falls area to New York City – grossing about $5300.
Washington potatoes from the Columbia Basin – grossing about $4500 to Chicago.
The USDA sees in it latest estimate Florida citrus remaining on schedule to ship 46 million boxes this season….Meanwhile Vidalia onions are in the ground for the season starting in April.
That estimate is a 33 percent plunge from the 2016-17 shipping season, but is unchanged from the December estimate, a first for this season.
The Florida citrus industry took a hammering from Hurricane Irma, which stripped fruit from trees and also stressed many to the point that growers expected increased fruit drop would happen throughout the season. Some trees were uprooted entirely, and others were damaged by standing water in the days after the storm.
The USDA estimate calls for 19 million boxes of early, midseason and navel varieties (down 42 percent from 2016-17) and 27 million boxes of valencias (down 24 percent).
Florida continues to face its lowest citrus forecast in more than 75 years.
Florida’s famous citrus industry and its growers continue to struggle with the unprecedented damage caused by Hurricane Irma and this damage, combined with the cumulative impacts of citrus greening, leaves Florida’s growers in desperate need of government support. Industry officials continue to work with Florida Governor Rick Scott and leaders in Washington to get Florida’s growers the relief they need to rebuild and replant.
The USDA estimate for California citrus was also unchanged from December, with the state projected to ship 35 million boxes of navel oranges and 11 million boxes of valencias. Texas is expected to ship 1.83 million boxes of oranges, up 11 percent from last month’s forecast and up 34 percent from the 2016-17 season.
Florida citrus – grossing about $3200 to New York City.
The Vidalia onion district in Southeastern Georgia accounts for about 22 percent of the total sweet onion shipments in the United States. The product is in the ground and should be available for loading in April. Georgia cold and even freezing weather can be okay with planted onions in the ground, as long is the temperature doesn’t plunge to low for too many hours. There will be more information in the coming weeks.
There’s been some adjustments in the shipping forecast for some Georgia produce shipments since a March freeze. Also, Port Manatee in Florida is looking to expand business with South America.
An update on Georgia produce shipments has been made after the USDA declare nearly two dozen counties a disaster as a result of a March freeze.
Georgia blueberry shipments will be 75 percent less this season. Loading are taking place and will continue through June. Georgia had originally estimated a total of 80 million pounds for the fresh and processed markets. 2016 blueberry shipments totaled a little over 70 million pounds, with about 45 million pounds going to the fresh market. Georgia’s record year of blueberry production was 96 million pounds total volume in 2014, 58 million pounds of which went to the fresh market.
Georgia peach shipments are starting any day now. While the original estimate for losses from the freeze were in the 40 to 50 percent range, the losses have now improved. Recently some growers was talking peach shipments should be down about 25 to 35 percent. Last year, Georgia shipped 43,000 tons of peaches.
There is good supply, quality and steady shipments of Vidalia onions occurring, averaging about 500 truck loads per week. Vidalia onions were the only Georgia produce crop not affected by that March freeze.
Vidalia onions – grossing about $2000 to Chicago.
Georgia green bean shipments have been underway since the first week of May and should continue through mid-July. Sweet corn is just getting underway, but good volume won’t occur until June and continuing through July Fourth. Georgia squash and zucchini loadings started a couple weeks early this season and will run through June.
Port Manatee, Palmetto, Fla., is planning to expand commercial ties with Colombia and Chile.
“We see significant opportunity for growing trade between our nation and Port Manatee,” Juan C. Barrera, general deputy director for the United States of ProColombia USA, said in a news release. “Both import and export opportunities exist for businesses in Manatee County and beyond, and we look forward to exploring these mutually beneficial possibilities,”
“We are enthused about fortifying the business relationship between Manatee County interests, including our port, and our counterparts in Colombia and are committed to growing such ties,” Carlos Buqueras, executive director of Port Manatee, said in the release.
“We have the largest dock side refrigerated facility in Florida,” Buqueras said. “We have such capacity, it’s a shame not to utilize it.”
A deal with Chile is still in negotiations, Buqueras said.
“It’ll start with test shipments,” he said. “That will give us the opportunity to make corrections or enhance speed to market,”
Produce currently represents 30% of Port Manatee’s import business, according to Buqueras. He said it is too early in negotiations to say how much produce imports would increase because of expanded ties.
By Potandon Produce LLC
Idaho Falls, ID – Potandon Produce LLC recently updated their Green Giant™ Vidalia Onion carton for the 2017 shipping season. Last season, Potandon updated their consumer bag, which had a visible impact on the retail shipping community, prompting the update to the master case.
Potandon’s main shipping point for Green Giant™ Vidalia onions is Ray Farms, owned and managed by Danny Ray, second-generation grower and previous winner of the Vidalia Grower of the Year (2012.) In a recent phone conversation, Danny Ray was very positive about the 2017 crop from an agronomic standpoint. His fields were healthy with 100% stand through the growing season and quality looked excellent. This season, in addition to the legendary Vidalia sweet onion, customers can load sweet red onions at Ray Farms.
Ralph Schwartz, Vice President of Sales for Potandon, also weighed in on this year’s crop. “We’re seeing yields increased over last season in the 15%-20% range and there are plenty of onions available from the Vidalia region. The increased yields are the direct result of an exceptionally mild growing season, with no major weather events”. Over the next three weeks, Potandon will ship onions from the field, afterwards moving to shipping from storage right around June 1st. The current crop profile is 30% Mediums and 70% Jumbo and larger sizes. Demand is expected to increase significantly over the next few weeks as Memorial Day nears.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Vidalia onion trademark. Vidalia onions are the state of Georgia’s number one vegetable commodity and are a major contributor to the state’s economy.
About Potandon Produce L.L.C.
Headquartered in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Potandon Produce is the largest marketer of fresh potatoes and one of the largest marketers of fresh onions in North America. Potandon holds the exclusive licensing rights to the Green Giant™ brand for fresh potatoes and onions in North America, and is able to provide year-round supply to any size retail, foodservice, or wholesale customer. Potandon is also an industry leader in food safety and in bringing innovative products to the market. Visit www.potandon.com to learn more about Potandon, and go to Potandon’s consumer website, www.klondikebrands.com, to learn more about the company’s distinctive potato varieties. To learn more about the Green Giant® Fresh program visit www.greengiantfresh.com.
Green Giant, the Green Giant character, Sprout, and associated words and designs are trademarks of B&G Foods North America, Inc.-used under license. ©2016 B&G Foods North America, Inc.
A packing date is set for Vidalia sweet onions. Otherwise, primary onion loadings a taking place from two western U.S. areas. Finally, here’s the outlook for imported mangoes.
An April 12th pack date for Vidalia onions has been set by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, which is about two weeks earlier than the pack dates during the past three seasons.
GDA rules mandate that no Vidalia onions can be packed or sold before the April 12 pack date. The pack date is established prior to each season to ensure the highest quality onions are delivered to retail stores for consumers across the country. The 2017 Vidalia onion crop is ahead of schedule because of the mild temperatures this winter thus resulting in the earlier pack date. Any sweet onions shipped from the Vidalia growing district prior to April 12th cannot be sold and shipped as Vidalia onions.
This is a very quiet time of year for Georgia produce shipments, with very light volume on a few items such as carrots and greens. Peach shipments are a couple of months away.
Storage Onion Shipments
The largest amount of onions coming out of domestic storages, averaging about 800 truck loads per week, is from western Idaho and nearby Malheur Co. in eastern Oregon. Similar onion volume also is be loaded from the Columbia Basin in Washington state and the adjacent Umatilla Basin of Oregon.
Idaho/Oregon onions – grossing about $4200 to Atlanta.
Southern Washington/ Northern Oregon onions – grossing about $4800 to New York City.
Mango imports for markets in the U.S. are expected to be similar in volume to last year. Peruvian imported mangoes are rapidly declining as the season comes to a close, while it will be April before there is big volume crossing the border from Mexico.
U.S. consumption of mangos continues to increase as the tropical fruit becomes more mainstream than ever. Since 2005, mango volume has increased over 75 percent, from 62 million boxes in 2005 to 109 million boxes in 2016. U.S. per capita consumption has grown 58 percent since 2005 to almost three pounds per person in 2016.
Here’s an update on Chiquita’s involvement with Port Everglades. On another front, Parker Farms will be a new shipper of Vidalia onions.
The Broward County Commission voted recently to terminate the lease for most of Chiquita Brands International’s facilities at Port Everglades. It was leasing 13.1 acres with 14,097 square feet of offices and 28,352 square feet of warehouses to support its banana shipments. Under the termination, the Chiquita would keep 6.59 acres of land under a short-term lease, but not the buildings.
The move does not impact Chiquita’s headquarters at the Design Center of the Americas in Dania Beach, where it moved in 2015. The company also has a separate warehouse lease at the port for a banana ripening facility that would remain in place.
Chiquita first leased space at Port Everglades in 2013 and later that year extended its lease to Sept. 30, 2018.
In 2014, Chiquita signed a deal with Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC) to provide cargo service for its bananas, so Chiquita started using MSC’s facilities at Port Everglades for its shipments. Then in 2015, Chiquita was sold to Cutrale-Safra.
Port Everglades officials contacted Chiquita about its plans and the company said it wanted to divest its terminal and base all of its shipments out of MSC’s terminal.
Under the proposed termination of the deal to be executed by March 1st.
“The early termination of the Chiquita lease agreement will benefit the port by creating opportunities for the currently dormant Chiquita land and the warehouse and office space to be made available for other Port users to expand their businesses and generate new revenue through both ship calls and cargo throughput,” the county memo stated. “The port will also continue to receive grid revenue from Chiquita for the 6.59 acre parcel they will continue to use.”
Parker Farms, based in Oak Grove, VA, is adding Vidalia sweet onions to its program this year.
The sweet onions, which will be sourced from B.G. Williams Farms in Uvalda, GA., will be sold under the company’s new Diamond Sweet label. B.G. Williams grows about 400 acres of sweet onions annually.
Park Farms plans to eventually source sweet onions from more regions so it can offer the product the year around, as it does with the other commodities it supplies. The company will also ship sweet potatoes and seedless watermelons under the Diamond Sweet label.
Parker Farms is a longtime shipper of sweet corn, broccoli, squash, bell peppers and cucumbers.
Lyons, GA – L.G. Herndon, Jr. Farms, Inc. is announcing the release of its newest line of packaged greens, SuperFit Greens. The launch of SuperFit Greens introduces an innovative concept for Herndon, offering healthy traditional greens in a convenient new package.
Herndon Farms has been the leader in produce categories including Vidalia onions, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, and bunch leafy greens for more than 30 years. As owner Bo Herndon has watched the leafy greens category change recently, he has envisioned creating a line of packaged greens that would engage consumers. “Since we started the farm in the late 70s, we’ve always grown southern, cooking greens. With the rise of items like kale and with consumers looking for more convenience with their greens, we knew it was time to create the right brand for today’s consumers.
The name SuperFit Greens was born out of a passion to inspire consumers to think healthy when deciding what to eat. “‘Eat your greens’ isn’t a passing fad,” remarks John Williams, Sales and Marketing Director for Herndon Farms, “Consumers are more health conscious and we want to support that with our products, to support Americans who are returning to a more nutrient-rich diet.”
The company recently expanded their operation with the construction on a state-of-the-art 44,000 square foot processing plant on their farm in southeast Georgia, to accommodate SuperFit Greens packaging. Williams states that freshness and shelf life were at the forefront of their decision to pack on-site. “The entire process from harvest to packaging will occur at the farm. We’re very confident the quality of our product will stand out because of this,” confirms Williams.
All of Herndon’s items are Primus GFS certified and the new facility will follow these same guidelines. Herndon added, “food safety is an extremely important part of what we do every day and our plans for our company’s future. We have a food safety team in place to help handle all the requirements an operation like ours requires.”
Williams is also confident that their innovative packaging, the SuperFit Greens website, social media channels, and direct marketing efforts will appeal to consumers. “We are focused on inspiring consumers through engagement, education and with the high quality of greens they will see offered under the SuperFit Greens brand,” adds Williams.
The company will begin shipping SuperFit Greens this October from their farm in Lyons, Ga.
About L.G. Herndon Farms, Inc.:
L. G. Herndon Jr. Farms is a family owned and operated business with over 30 years of experience growing Vidalia® sweet onions, Peruvian and Mexican sweet onions, Lil’ Bo’s Petite sweet Vidalia onions, sweet corn, green leafy vegetables, and most recently, sweet potatoes. Herndon Farms strives to maintain a reputation of high-quality and consistency that has come to define the Herndon name. For more information, visit vidaliasfinest.com.
Bland Farms LLC of Glennville, GA, the nation’s largest sweet onion grower and shipper, is appealing the decision of a Georgia appeals court that says Georgia’s agriculture commissioner has the power to set packing and shipping dates for Vidalia onions, overturning a lower court that sided with Bland.
A three-judge panel of the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a unanimous opinion June 30 stating repeatedly that “all authority to regulate packing and shipping rests with the commissioner.”
The case was filed in the fall of 2013, shortly after Commissioner Gary Black put a new shipping rule into effect.
Black said Vidalia growers sought his help to protect the reputation and value of the state’s trademarked onions after consumer and retailer complaints in 2012 and 2013.
About a dozen growers filed a brief with the appeals court supporting Black. They said they asked for the rule because a minority of growers, seeking to be first to market, had been shipping early, although legally. Their brief said early-variety, poor quality onions with short shelf life had sent retailers and consumers to other sources for sweet onions.
Bland Farms opposed the rule, saying only individual growers know when any given field of onions is ready to harvest.
Bland Farms’ legal challenge claimed Black violated the state’s Vidalia Onion Act with the new rule. Such changes would require legislative action, according to Bland Farms’ complaint. The appeals judges said that argument was “misguided.”
“The Act does not afford growers statutory rights with regard to shipping or packing. Rather, the Act gives the commissioner both the authority to determine and announce a shipping date and the authority to promulgate a rule or regulation for packing,” according to the opinion.
The appeal judges noted Black had considered increasing inspections instead of imposing the new rule, which sets Monday of the last full week in April as the shipping start for Vidalia onions. The rule has a provision for the commissioner to change that date at the request of growers in the event of special conditions.
Stanley Farms of Vidalia, GA has been placed on one year’s probation by the Georgia Department of Agriculture because it improperly stored other yellow onions at its Vidalia facility. However, it has been cleared by the GDA of accusations that it packed non-Vidalia onions in Vidalia-branded bags.
No evidence was found during its five-week investigation that non-Vidalias were on the packing equipment at Stanley Farms’ facility in Vidalia, Ga., when Vidalia onions were being packed.
“What we did find was improper storage of organic yellow onions in a Vidalia (onion) packing facility,” said Gary Black, GDA commissioner. “We promptly responded with a hold on those onions until all inventory could be traced and accounted for, preventing the onions from entering the retail fresh market.”
The department required Stanley Farms to move 285 field bins of non-Vidalia onions to another facility where they were held under seal. Black said Stanley Farms and members of the Stanley family fully complied with all of the department’s directions and requests during the investigation.
Commissioner Black said the department and the grower-shipper signed a consent agreement that includes a one-year probationary period. If another infraction of the same kind is found during that year, the operation could lose its Vidalia onion license, he said.
Vidalia onions – grossing about $3000 to Chicago; $3300 to New York City.
(Onions on the top are from Stanley Farms, Vidalia, GA, and are being investigated. The onions on the bottom row are marketed and sold by Shuman Produce in Reidsville, GA.)
Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black and officials from the Federal-State Inspection Service met May 7 with Vidalia onion growers to hear allegations from growers that Stanley Farms recently processed as many as 400 truckloads of conventional yellow Florida onions at the same facility where it processes Vidalias without separating the two as required by law, an infraction that carries a fine of $5,000 per incident up to $20,000.
Stanley Farms, a Vidalia, GA, onion facility was acquired last year by interests connected to billionaire Bill Gates.
Growers at the meeting also raised allegations that Stanley may have packed those yellow onions as Vidalias. According to statute 2-13-134 of the Vidalia Onion act of 1986, misrepresenting other onions as Vidalias is a felony carrying potential punitive measures consisting of a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 or by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than three years, or both.
“That’s what hurts us, is for anybody to think we would do anything to hurt the Vidalia image,” Brian Stanley, company sales manager, said. “It’s a tough situation and that’s why we’re ready to get all the information out there and let them look at it and be transparent with it. They’ll see that we’d never in any way want to hurt Vidalia’s heritage. We want to get it behind us as quickly as possible. Whenever the department looks through all this, hopefully we can get it behind us very rapidly so we can move on. We’ve just got to get that information to the right people, then we can talk about it soon.”
At issue is the ferociously defended Vidalia trademark. Over two decades ago Vidalia growers were granted a federal marketing order protecting their crop from fraud. Stringent rules apply to the packaging and labeling of Vidalia onions, including prohibitions against comingling Vidalias with other onions in a processing facility or misrepresenting any other onion as a Vidalia.
Vidalia onions – grossing about $3500 to New York City.