Don’t mess with … well, you know.
“Texans are protective of anything from Texas,” said J Allen Carnes, owner of Winter Garden Produce, Uvalde, Texas.
“Homegrown is a big deal. We have a big following.”
Co-owner Mike Martin said Feb. 8 that River Queen LLC, Mission, Texas, would start harvesting onions in the Lone Star state by the end of February or the first week of March.
Texas retailers, he said, will be first in line for the product.
“When you start out, you don’t have enough for the whole world,” Martin said. “So you start with the customers that are going to stay with you the longest. We have great support from Texas retailers for Texas product.”
Michael Davis, co-owner of Tex-Mex Sales LLC, Weslaco, Texas, agrees.
“Our product goes all over the country,” he said, “but the local retailers like to be first to market. They are the ones who are going to grab them.”
The Texas Department of Agriculture has been encouraging customers to Go Texan for more than a decade. The marketing program highlights retailers, restaurants, wineries, farmers markets, pick-your-own farms, florists, nurseries and other businesses offering Texas products.
Gotexan.org helps consumers find specific homegrown products as well as restaurants that use locally grown ingredients.
“The department has really pushed to brand it and get it out there,” Carnes said. “Retailers are lining up to do it. HEB pushes Texas product extremely hard. They do a great job. Chains across the state are doing it. Walmart, more and more, is trying to brand itself in Texas.”
David DeBerry, director of category management for Crescent Fruit & Vegetable LLC, Edinburg, said retailers in Texas and its border states do a good job of promoting Texas onions.
“Each has their own way they prefer to do that, and we adapt our systems to match each of theirs,” he said.