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Sweeten up spring with Keystone’s Vidalia Sugar Sweets

Keystone Fruit Marketing, a division of Progressive Produce, is known for its year-round sweet onion program. The Vidalia onion is an integral part of that program, and the company is anxious to get started this year.

The Vidalia sweet is known for its flat shape, high sugar content and low sulfur content. "Initially an accident, the Vidalia turned out to be the sweetest accident in the industry — and it is now considered America’s favorite sweet onion," said Lisa Fetterhoff, director of operations. This famous treat is hand-planted and harvested each season and is only available in spring and summer.

Keystone partners with Cowart Farms, selling their Vidalia’s Sugar Sweets. "We have been working with this fourth-generation family of farmers in Lyons, GA, for over 20 years," said Fetterhoff. "The Cowarts are vertically integrated from seed to shelf, controlling every aspect of every onion, and they use sustainable business practices. They were the first to recognize the importance of applying leading technology to enhance and guarantee sweetness in their southern gems. The Cowarts have a state-of-the-art drying and curing facility, providing extended shelf life on their Sugar Sweets."

Keystone ships Vidalia onions throughout the United States and Canada. "Like everyone else in the industry, we’re facing labor and logistics challenges, with freight rates at historical highs," said Fetterhoff.

With a start date of April 12, the company is kicking off Vidalia season a little earlier than previous years. "We are, however, optimistically anticipating a normal year," said Fetterhoff. "Our crop is looking good and it appears to be on track so far. Look for our Vidalia’s Sugar Sweets label at a retailer near you!"

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