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G&R gearing up for Peruvian onion season

Peruvian sweet onions are an important crop for G&R Farms as the sweet onions it plants, grows and harvests in Peru provide the company with a year-long program to supply its retailer partners. The program, which started 15 years ago, benefits building the brand with consumers, which in turn builds loyalty and sales.  2019-07-17-13.17.29

 “We developed our Peru program to enable us to provide a 12-month, high-quality sweet onion program for our customers day in and day out,” said Walt Dasher, vice president and chief financial officer of the Glennville, GA-based company. “We always try and do our best to plan all of our sweet onion programs, but the Peru program takes the most given the fact we are 4,000 miles away and on different climates and weather patterns. We have always done our best to develop the very best level of trust with everyone we partner with in Peru. This is absolute must.”

G&R Farms is proud to partner with growers in Peru who share the same values as the Dasher family — quality yields, stringent food-safety practices and taking care of people. 

“This was all built on a foundation of deep-rooted family traditions and trust,” Dasher said. “We are proud to share we have meaningful, long-term, collaborative partnerships with our family of growers. We feel this is what sets us apart from competition.”

G&R Farms has boots on the ground to work with family growers to consistently improve crop quality through best practices, harvesting and operational innovation and investments in land and community. In Peru, the company oversees production, field operations and food-safety protocol and logistics to ensure product arrives on time to meet customer orders to their satisfaction.

“Planning with our retailers in advance as much as 12 to 24 months is critical to ensure we have supply to meet orders and can react if incremental volume is needed,” Dasher said.

Projections for the 2019 Peruvian crop are positive, and Dasher noted the demand for the sweet onions will rival previous years.

“Our crop looks good and the size appears to be normal Peru sizing,” he said. “The quality appears to be very consistent and excellent, and that will result in a strong season.

G&R Farms is fully compliant with its Product Traceability Initiative in Peru, as all sweet onions are traceable from the field to transport, from packaging to delivery. The company is also always trying new growing and packing methods to ensure it’s staying on top.

Not surprisingly, the labor force continues to be a big challenge for the company, but it’s one that it works hard to overcome.

 “With all the ag production that has really increased in the past few years in the growing area, labor is really becoming the concern for most ag companies,” Dasher said. “We have always tried to build very strong consistent relationships with our crew members year after year and really treat them like family.”