GLENNVILLE, Ga. — A renewed relationship with Vidalia onion grower Terry Gerrald has positioned Utah Onions Inc. to expand its sweet onion program with a new focus on retailers during the 2013 Vidalia season.

Richard Pazderski is the new director of business development for Syracuse-based Utah Onions, which has been known by that name since 1977.

Pazderski grew up in Vidalia country and works out of Glennville.

He previously was head of sales for Bland Farms, also based in Glennville.

“Previously, Utah Onions had focused on the commodity markets,” Pazderski said. “Now we are doing heavy retail marketing.”

For the 2013 season, Utah Onions is marketing Vidalia onions grown by Terry Gerrald, owner of Gerrald’s Vidalia Sweets Inc., Statesboro, Ga.

Utah Onions also plans to market Georgia red sweet onions grown by Gerrald, and it has a pilot program of about 35 acres of white onions in Georgia, Pazderski said.

“Utah wanted to go year-round with sweets, and the Vidalias allow us to do so,” Pazderski said. “We are putting our emphasis on our brands in specialty lines.

“The Vidalias will give us more strength at retail. Many retailers take other yellow onions off the shelf and sell only Vidalias while they are available, and now we can be part of that.”

Pazderski said he expects Utah Onions to have yields of 700-800 50-pound units per acre this season from about 400 acres of Vidalias.

He said short supplies of onions coming out of Texas and Mexico should put Vidalia onions in a great position as the season opens in April.

“I think we will see the Vidalias open in the low to mid-$20s this year,” Pazderski said. “There is a potential for some loss because of the rain earlier this year, but sheer supply and demand will keep Vidalias in a good price range.”