Peri & Sons Farms hypes Nevada for growing onions
Peri & Sons Farms grows, packs and ships premium white, yellow, red, sweet and organic onions year-round directly from its family farms in Nevada and California. Nevada is where the company grows most of its acreage for red, whites, yellows, sweets, Sweetie Sweet and Sunions.
“Nevada onions, especially our Nevada whites, are hands down some of the best onions you can get,” said Jessica Peri, retail sales manager for the Yerington, NV-based company. “Nevada whites are known for their premium quality and beautiful pearlescent appearance.”
The state is also where the company has the most opportunity for specialty programs such as conventional and organic shallots, garlic and cipollinis. Peri & Sons Farms trial all its new packaging at the Nevada facility, too.
“We grow over 4,000 acres of conventional and organic onions, shallots and cipollinis in Yerington,” Peri said. “We grow an additional 2,000-plus acres in California to complete our year-round program.”
The company has a rich history of onion growing behind it, dating back to 1979. When Peri began selling onions 18 years ago, the company had very little retail business and sales were mostly to brokers and wholesalers. However, since that time, the retail sales program has grown almost 400 percent and the company now serves a wide variety of retail stores across the U.S.
“Every grower measures success in their own way; for us, success means we’ve achieved consistent quality, sizing, and variety for our customers,” Peri said. “We have been successful in building profitable programs with retailers because we offer the highest quality products, which means there’s less shrink and our full line of premium and organic onions will display well, whether they are bulk items or our line of consumer packs and sustainable packaging.”
Some recent trends in the category include the rise in private label and sustainable packaging.
“Grower brands are being jeopardized, and because of that, produce consumers will have a much harder time knowing how and where the product was grown,” Peri said. “The industry wants sustainable packaging due to growing consumer demand for it. We want to move toward more sustainable packaging, and we are, but there is a substantial cost for making packaging changes and we’re not able to pass that on in the present inflationary environment.”
That’s why the company is working with its packaging manufacturers and testing material that uses less plastic but still maintains its structural strength. It’s also focused on packaging reduction, by using less material, as part of the company mission as a certified sustainable farm operation.
Peri noted it has become difficult to compare year-over-year sales with everything that has happened in the economy and with the pandemic, inflation, etc., calling it a roller coaster.
“Surprisingly 2021 almost matched 2020, but I don’t think 2022 sales will meet retailers’ sales expectations,” she said. “It was a rough spring for planting across all growing regions. We had to replant some fields due to wind blowing the seeds out. Thankfully, onions are resilient, and even though our onions were replanted, they are on target. Mother Nature dictates the life cycle, but we are expecting a good crop with higher-than-normal yields.”
She noted the cost to produce the crops is skyrocketing and the company has no choice but to pass some of it along as the profit margins on onions just hasn’t been there to absorb the increases.
Despite the challenges, Peri & Sons Farms continues to grow. Among its many new hires is the addition of a new social media specialist, Bailey Sanchez.
“We plan to up our B2B and B2C engagement by sharing more about the farm, our culture and our sustainability mission and also by promoting the health benefits of fresh produce,” Peri said.
Photo: The Peri & Sons Farms team in an onion field.