They say everything is bigger in Texas, and when it comes to local produce programs Texans really go for their home state sweet onions.
The Texas 1015-style sweet onion continues to be a top crop for the state, and retailers tend to go big with promotions.
Being the first domestic sweet onion out of the gate in the spring doesn’t hurt, either, grower-shippers said.
“Texas tends to support Texas,” said Mike Martin, president of Rio Queen Citrus Inc., Mission, and its sister company onion shipper Elmore & Stahl Inc. “That’s nothing new. It kind of feeds on itself. Most retailers really make a strong effort to make a splash with Texas. We capitalize on that everywhere we can.”
Even without the fervor behind the local produce trend, Texas is a strong market for its home-grown onions, said Don Ed Holmes, owner of The Onion House LLC, Weslaco, Texas.
“It’s always been a gigantic market,” he said. “The fact that they’re promoting Texas products to Texans helps. We’ve got a lot of people that want to be the first with their Texas onions. It’s definitely a plus.”
Logisitics also help. After all, Texas is a pretty big state.
“The more we can sell in Texas, the less we’ve got to sell everywhere else,” Holmes said.
J Carnes, president of Uvalde, Texas-based Winter Garden Produce, said Texas onions stay strong even when other domestic deals pick up.
“People do press the local onions,” he said. “Texas receivers really push it. They like everything to stay close. It’s nice to deliver overnight instead of for-five days, too.”
David DeBerry, category manager for onions for Edinburg, Texas-based Frontera Produce Ltd., agreed.
“They’ll stay with Texas until Texas is done,” he said. “A big part of that is less freight and the just in time ordering and delivery. Retailers can work so much closer, ordering Wednesday for Thursday. We can deliver almost everywhere in the state within 24 hours.”
Being able to order Monday for Tuesday instead of Monday for Friday is a big bonus, he said.
“We think when they have an opportunity, and all other things are equal, they’ll go Texas and they’ll go local,” he said.