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Bland Farms promoting new product lines in October

SweetPotatoFriesBagSweet onion giant Bland Farms LLC of Glennville, GA, will have a lot to talk about at the Southeast Produce Council fall show Sept. 26-28 in Myrtle Beach, SC, as well as along the rest of the upcoming fall tradeshow trail — and the news is not all about onions.

Once again Bland has partnered with the National Breast Cancer Research Foundation for an October promotion that will see Bland’s familiar green logo and labeling replaced with a sporty pink. The special packaging will hit shelves “right at the end of the September,” said Sales Manager Kristie Waters. “We are working with many of the same customers this year and continuing to build partnerships with new ones. This is our fourth year running that we’ve worked with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to promote Breast Cancer Awareness during the month of October. We’re proud to support an organization that has set out to eradicate a disease that has unfortunately touched so many of our lives.”

Meanwhile, the company’s Vidalia Brands subsidiary has made major inroads in the last few years with its line of dips, dressings, sauces and condiments, and in the past 12 months has seen snack products released under that label win fans and gain supermarket traction. Now there are three new entries in that product line.

A new “Sweet Onion Hibachi” white sauce blends sweet onion with Asian spices for dipping, marinating and cooking. And the new “Sweet Onion Caesar” dressing blends two American classics.

“Sweet onions go very well with garlic, but Caesar dressing is not usually made with sweet onion,” Waters said. “Sweet onion adds a good balance to the garlicky, peppery taste — it softens it a little.”

Vidalia Brands “Sweet Onion Petals” are a crunchy, seasoned onion snack that have been a tremendous supermarket success. Now the onion specialists are branching out with a new, crunchy sweet potato snack.

“The Sweet Onion Petals have done so well for us we decided to expand and we’re really hoping the new Vidalia Brands ‘Sweet Potato Fries’ are going to bring even more attention,” Water said. “We’ll be introducing the product at PMA [Fresh Summit in New Orleans in October]. They have true sweet potato flavor but there’s a salty, savory aspect as well. It’s a phenomenal flavor profile.”

Bland is known for onions — so does the addition of a sweet potato product mean there is more news in the offing about the Bland family of products?

“We’re working on a lot of great things already and there are others behind the scenes,” Waters said. “We’ve got other tricks up our sleeves for PMA.”

While Bland will not give away too much information before that show, the company’s PMA booth will be a must-stop destination. Tory McPhail, executive chef of New Orleans’ legendary Commander’s Palace and a 2013 winner of the James Beard Foundation awards and a familiar television personality, will be on-hand preparing hors d’oeuvres featuring Bland Farms and Vidalia Brands products.

“We’ve really been trying to think of ways to branch out and one of those is to look at the food service aspect because sweet onions aren’t really prevalent there,” Waters said. “Tory is going to incorporate sweet onions into all the different items. The menu isn’t finalized but should be very appealing to foodies, to consumers, to everybody — it’s going to be great.”