Barry Rogers, president and chief executive officer of Melbourne, FL-based Sweet Onion Trading Co., expects that the volume of Peruvian onions he will be importing will be down this season. “There was a colder-than-normal winter in parts of Peru, and some feel it may have affected the yield,” he told The Produce News on Aug. 9.
Peruvian imports are a part of the company’s overall sweet onion program. Sweet Onion Trading brought its first load into the United States in October, 2002. Today, the company works with six growers in Peru. “We have multiple growers to ensure no interruptions in volume and quality,” Mr. Rogers stated.
Acreage in production has remained relatively stable, but Mr. Rogers said that he expects per-acre yield to be down. “It is still too early to say about quality,” he went on to say, adding that he expects the profile will be heavy to small jumbos.
The import season is rapidly approaching. “We begin Peru in September and end about January 15,” he stated. “We always try and overlap with our other crops, like our Nevada and Mexico crops. We also import from Chile from January to April and Mexico from February to May.”
Peruvian onions that are loaded at the Port of Callao in Lima, Peru, are shipped to the ports of Miami; Charleston, SC; and Port Everglades, FL.
Onions are marketed under the “Sunbrero,” “Longboard” and “Treasure Trader” labels. “We sell sweet onions mostly to retail and wholesale stores,” Mr. Rogers noted.
Sweet onions continue to gain in popularity in the marketplace. As a result, Mr. Rogers said that it is important to deliver on product guarantees. “How can shoppers know if the sweet onions in their market will be sweet?” he asked. “All our sweet onions are tested and [labeled] ‘Certified Sweet’ by National Onion Labs.” NOL is headquartered in Collins, GA, and provides its clients with crop management and testing services.