Featured image: Ray Farms onion field on February 10, 2021, courtesy of Danny Ray
Vidalia’s 2021 crop is about halfway through its growing season, and reports indicate the onions are coming along nicely. This week we spoke to Ray Farms Inc. and G&R Farms, both based in Glennville, GA, and we’re hearing good news.
Danny Ray gave us the good news from Ray Farms, and Cliff Riner provided his optimistic update from G&R.
“We have about the same program that we had last year,” Danny said on Feb. 10. “Most of our crop is Vidalia Sweet Onions and our Sweet Georgia Reds. We will also have Georgia white onions, which we have been raising for three years now.” He continued, “Being a fourth-generation family business dedicated to raising solely Georgia onions, we have developed long-standing customer relationships. We keep these relationships by listening to our customers and doing what we can to meet their needs. It works out pretty well.”
Danny noted, “My daddy, Avon, isn’t hands-on in the business anymore. He is mostly ‘customer relations,’ coming down to the office to visit with customers.”
When asked if Ray Farms intends to go year-round, Danny said, “You know, we all work hard. Very hard. We put everything we have into Vidalias. But we put everything into our family, too. If all you do is work and you never make time for your family, what is the point?”
Danny was proud to add that Ray Farms has mechanized harvesting. “Not a lot of Vidalia onions are mechanically harvested,” he said. “We’ve added mechanical harvesters, and they’ve performed really well.”
Cliff told us G&R Farms is watching the onions’ progress and anticipating a good, healthy crop.
“The upcoming Vidalia onion crop, which is typically harvested around the third week in April, is in midseason growth and we are focused on fertilizing and monitoring the overall crop health,” he said. “So far, we are pleased. The growth is where we want it to be, and the plants have a healthy color signifying good quality.”
Cliff said, “We monitor our crop’s health and status by taking plant tissue samples and analyzing their health and nutrition levels. G&R Farms works closely with the University of Georgia specialists, and Waters Agricultural Labs to constantly provide quantitative analysis of the crop.”
And, he said, “Our certified organic Vidalia onion acreage was planted in early December, and this is due to harvest in May. We’re excited about the fields that we have rotated to this year and what potential they bring.” With its Vidalias, Peruvian sweets and onions source from other areas, third-generation G&R has sweet onions year-round.