“We encourage food vendors to bring different things they can use onions in. This year, we’re going to see who can make ice cream from onions.”
Some promotional ideas are more expensive to pull off than others, growers said. But there are some that come with no cost.
“I get on TV (newscasts), and that helps me out a lot, and it’s free,” said Ben Cavalli Jr., owner of Walla Walla-based Cavalli’s Onion Acres.
“If you give them a call when we’re starting, they like to cover that,” Cavalli said. “They’ll put a 30-second segment on. I usually have two or three stations. You can’t pay for that kind of advertising.”
Cavalli added that it’s also good to go where potential customers are.
“Some of the growers are going to the farmers market, and lot of people are going there,” he said. “A lot of it is word of mouth. If they can get one onion, it’s different. It’s got the taste and juice.”
Walla Walla-based Keystone Fruit Marketing always has an eye out for new promotional ideas, said Dan Borer, sales manager.
“That’s the $64 million question,” he said.
“We’re always looking for new ways to do that. We’re fairly broad-based in our marketing efforts. Some are fairly nontraditional for produce marketers. It’s an edge we feel we have over some people. But we will continue to market and advertise Walla Walla as broad-based as we can to make consumers more well aware of this great product.”