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Shuman Farms finds great success with Peruvian onions

By
Keith Loria

In 1998, Shuman Farms began its farming operations in Peru, developing a vertically integrated program that allows the company to ship sweet onions to its retail partners from September to March.

The company recently debuted a state-of-the-art packinghouse and updated facilities in Peru.

“We are heavily invested in the region with a full-time staff and infrastructure to support our program,” said John Shuman, president and CEO of the Reidsville, GA-based company. “We grow our sweet onions to match the superior quality and sweet, mild flavor synonymous with the RealSweet name.”

Shuman Farms is one of the largest growers and shippers of sweet onions in the industry and all of its products are non-GMO, grown using conventional or organic farming practices that it has perfected over years and generations of experience. 

Shuman noted that Peru offers unique soils and a climate conducive for producing a world-class sweet onion. 

“A premium RealSweet onion from Peru has a similar size and shape to the Vidalia, the most recognizable sweet onion on the market, thanks to its origin as a short-day onion variety,” he said. “The onion has a consistent mild, sweet flavor with a crisp texture that is preferred by consumers.”

In addition, the RealSweet label provides a consistent, consumer-trusted brand on produce department shelves all year long. Consumers count on RealSweet to consistently deliver the best flavor and quality no matter the time of year. 

“We expect a smooth transition from Vidalia to Peru by early September,” Shuman said. “We encourage both bulk and bag promotions with our retailer partners, and we are looking forward to shipping premium RealSweet onions from Peru through March 2023.”

By importing sweet onions through the Port of Savannah, Shuman Farms is able to maintain a full-time local workforce in southeast Georgia, providing American jobs 12-months of the year.

“Thanks to our Peruvian sweet onion program, we are able to retain the same team members and team from Vidalia season throughout the fall and winter, with the exception of the H2A field labor,” Shuman said. “Peruvian onions allow us to maintain an experienced year-round workforce that we would otherwise be unable to do.”

In addition to the positive economic impact in its own backyard, importing sweet onions through the Port of Savannah helps to support more than 500,000 jobs in the Southeast United States.

“The economic contribution the Georgia Ports provide is especially important to our retail partners in the Southeast as they are able to put local economic sustainability into action,” Shuman said. “At Shuman Farms, we understand the importance of sustainability and the role it plays in our people, our farms, our products, our community and the planet itself.”

The quickest and easiest way to drive sales of sweet onions and increase overall produce department basket size, Shuman noted, is with cross merchandising.

“Due to their versatility and mild flavor, sweet onions are the perfect item to pair with other produce in the department such as peppers, tomatoes, bagged salads, potatoes, mushrooms and more,” he said. “What’s the secret to a great dish? Start by using premium RealSweet onions from Peru. This year’s in-store signage will inspire consumers to start their recipes with RealSweet onions — whether tailgating, cooking their family’s favorite dish, or impressing guests during the holidays.”

In an effort to create a healthier generation, Shuman Farms is committed to educating consumers about healthy living through produce consumption alongside its sister company, Healthy Family Project®. 

“We believe that as farmers and food producers in the U.S., it is our responsibility to shed light on hunger in America,” Shuman said. “Through our various charitable projects and programs, Shuman Farms and Healthy Family Project have donated more than 16 million meals to Feeding America.”

For the past 14 years, Shuman Farms has also distributed special, pink RealSweet onion bags, display bins, and point-of-sale signage during the month of October to support breast cancer awareness. 

“Since 2009, we have donated more than $120,000 to those working to find a cure,” Shuman said. “This year, in addition to the bag distribution and donation, Shuman Farms will also be donating comforting blankets to patients undergoing chemotherapy treatments and the team will be participating in a fundraising walk in October.”

Keith Loria

Keith Loria

About Keith Loria  |  email

A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is a D.C.-based award-winning journalist who has been writing for major publications for close to 20 years on topics as diverse as real estate, food and sports. He started his career with the Associated Press and has held high editorial positions at magazines aimed at healthcare, sports and technology. When not busy writing, he can be found enjoying time with his wife, Patricia, and two daughters, Jordan and Cassidy.

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