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Potandon to offer Green Giant sweet onions year-round

Potandon Produce LLC, exclusive marketer of the Green Giant Fresh brand for fresh onions and potatoes, has significantly expanded its onion program over the past year. A major component of that expansion has been an increased focus on sweet onions, including the addition of an import program that enables the company to now offer sweet onions in the Green Giant brand year-round.Thomas-and-ElferingDick Thomas and Steve Elfering

“We are refocusing on our onion program,” said Steve Elfering, vice president of operations for the Idaho Falls, ID-based company. “We are starting to hire some dedicated onion sales people and putting renewed emphasis on expanding our onion supplies and meeting the onion needs of customers.”

The company has also added significant resources during the winter months, particularly in the sweet onion category, said Ralph Schwartz, vice president of marketing, sales and innovation. There will also be additional sales people to help sell and market onions from the Treasure Valley [of Idaho and Eastern Oregon], specifically in with Potandon’s Baker & Murakami relationship, said Elfering.

Elfering has previously described Potandon’s relationship with Baker & Murakami Produce Co. LLC, based in Ontario, OR, as “the keystone of our onion program.”

In addition, Potandon will be strong in its Vidalia onion program this year with multiple packing locations in the Vidalia area.

“We are increasing our onion team overall, but we added some very specific sweet onion resources and some expertise around that,” said Schwartz. “We are going to a full 52-week program not only with domestic product but imports.”

“We have aligned with some dedicated suppliers, and we have hired Mark Breimeister, whose sole focus is sweet onions,” said Dick Thomas, senior vice president of sales. “Breimeister has been in the sweet onion industry for more than 20 years and has a lot of knowledge, both in the marketing and importing of sweet onions,”

Starting last fall, Potandon further expanded its sweet onion program and extended the shipping season by bring in sweet onions from Peru. “That will fill in when we are noticeably absent with the Vidalias,” Thomas said. Potandon will bring the Peruvian onions into the Vidalia area in Georgia for distribution.

“We like the Green Giant brand on a year-round basis for our retailers,” said Thomas. “We have partnered up with some of the better importers and growers in Vidalia to make the highest quality of onions possible in the Green Giant label. It is a well-known brand in the vegetable category that is trusted by the consumers.”

In addition to the Vidalia sweets and the Peruvian sweets, Potandon also has small sweet onion deals in Washington state and in California, notably the Five Points and Stockton areas. “For us, that is more of a small niche market for customers in California and elsewhere on the West Coast,” said Elfering.