Sweet Clover Produce LLC has worked hard to take heavy lifting out of the onion equation for its foodservice customers. Speaking from his office in Walla Walla, WA, Sales Manager Bill Brownfield said 25-pound onion cartons have become increasingly popular. “The cartons are wider, so you don’t have any issues with people lifting them,” he told The Produce News July 6. “They like these cartons to protect the product.”
In addition to the lift-friendly carton, Sweet Clover offers a full line of packaging options. Sack sizes include 10-, 25- and 50-pounds, and 40-pound cartons are also available.
The company works with a number of area growers that produce the single-center product sought by foodservice customers. Mr. Brownfield said that Sweet Clover markets a host of whites, yellows and reds. “We have sweet onions available year-round,” he added. Program offerings include the famous Walla Walla sweet onion, generally available from mid-June through the end of August. Sweet Clover also markets the famed single-center Red Wing variety.
In addition to its conventional product, Sweet Clover moves organic onions. In response to marketplace demand, Mr. Brownfield said acreage devoted to organic product doubled this season.
“Most of our customer base is for onions that are whole,” Mr. Brownfield went on to say. “We do certain specs for them so they have uniformity on the final product. We don’t do the finished goods.”
In all, Sweet Clover markets over 2 million units of onions annually to its global customers. Its onions are sold under the “Sweet Clover,” “Columbia Pride,” “White Tiger,” “Basin Best” and “Quincy Queen” labels, and Mr. Brownfield expects additional labels will be added in the future.
Sweet Clover onions meet the highest food-safety standards through third-party auditing. “We have third-party auditing in place with our sheds and growers. All of our food-safety programs start at the field,” Mr. Brownfield said. Sheds are Good Agricultural Practices certified and in compliance with state and federal food-safety protocols.