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Shuman Farms has long history with Vidalia onions

By
Keith Loria

The Vidalia onion is the official state vegetable of Georgia, and Shuman Farms is a big player in the Vidalia industry. Vidalia onions can only be grown which is made up of a 20-county region in south Georgia. Most of Shuman Farms’ production comes from Toombs and Tattnall counties, in the center of the designated growing region. 

“The Vidalia onion was accidently discovered in Georgia in the 1930s during the Great Depression,” said John Shuman, President and CEO of Shuman Farms. “While a local favorite in Georgia, snowbirds driving back north in the south are accredited for spreading the word about Vidalia onions in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. They would stop at roadside stands on their way back home to buy Vidalias for themselves and their neighbors back home.”

Shuman Farms is located in Reidsville, GA, in Tattnall County and the heart of the Vidalia growing region.

He explained the Vidalia onion is a short-day onion, meaning it grows when the days are short in the winter and then matures in the spring when the days become longer and warmer.

 “We are a year-round grower, packer, and shipper of premium sweet onions from Vidalia, Peru, and Texas,” Shuman said. “The sandy soil and unique climate, including mild, short winters, contribute to the Vidalia onion’s mild, sweet flavor.”

Because the area averages more than 50 inches of rain in southeast Georgia annually, that helps to keep the soil clean.

“The sandy soils are extremely low in sulfur which keeps the onions sweet and mild with very little heat,” Shuman said.

The company’s RealSweet brand has become one of the most trusted brands in the industry, providing consistent, premium quality onions to consumers year-round while holding true to its core values of quality, service, innovative marketing, sustainability and giving back. 

“This year, Shuman Farms will harvest 2,200 acres of the 10,000 acres harvested by the Vidalia industry,” Shuman said. “We started shipping on April 19 and look forward to a successful season. Our fresh season will continue through the end of May and then we’ll switch to our storage season in June.”

One of the company’s foundational pillars is excellent customer service.

“We believe in treating our customers like family,” Shuman said. “We know that it is our integrity and earned reputation that proceeds us when we meet with customers. We value our relationships with our retail partners and consider many of them life-long friends.”

Last year, the company beefed up its website, so visitors to the RealSweet site can now learn more about the Shuman family’s history in the sweet onion business and meet the growers behind the RealSweet brand. The website redesign also introduced a farm-to-table look at Vidalia onion production, serving to educate consumers about where their food comes from and improve overall brand transparency.

 

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