The New Mexico onion deal is growing.
According to Katie Goetz, public information officer for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, Las Cruces, N.M., the deal’s value has almost tripled in a 10-year span.
Since 2000, the onion crop has grown in value from $32.8 million to $90.5 million in 2010.
The addition of sweet onion programs has encouraged this growth, according to growers who participate in that deal.
“We’re experiencing more demand every year for the sweet onions, and for that reason, we’ve planted more and added a separate packing line just for the sweet onion program,” said Chris Franzoy, owner of Young Guns Produce Inc., Hatch, N.M.
Locally grown marketing efforts are also adding a boost to the New Mexico deal.
“One of the biggest trends right now is to buy local at the retail level,” Franzoy said.
Goetz said the state’s New Mexico — Taste the Tradition/Grown with Tradition program has been helpful with these efforts.
“New Mexico Department of Agriculture created the logo program in 2000 to identify foods grown and processed in the Land of Enchantment,” Goetz said.
Not only does the program encourage local sales, but it helps local growers network.
“Membership in the program keeps farmers, ranchers and food processors in the know about opportunities to attend trade shows, to participate in cooperative advertising and the like, and undoubtedly activities like that can help spur sales,” she said.
Growers also work with retailers to encourage local sales.
“We encourage all retailers to support their local farmers and take advantage of these local harvests to offer the consumer a fresh, good product that is grown in their region or state,” Franzoy said.