Finding the Value in Value-Added Produce

Value-added produce is valuable. It seems like a no-brainer – after all, “value” is in the name. But there are many ways that value-added fresh produce can help businesses. From food safety, to reduced costs, to consistent quality, value-added is just that – super valuable.

Value-Add Number One: Save on Labor Costs

One of the most labor-intensive tasks in any commercial kitchen is prepping fresh produce. Prepping a raw bulk onion order is the perfect example. One 50 lb sack contains an average of 200 individual onions. That’s a lot of peeling, washing, and cleaning up – all before you even begin to dive into cutting.

That prep work takes manpower, and labor is a commodity that is getting increasingly harder to find. The United States is experiencing a nationwide labor shortage, and as minimum wage and other employee costs increase, retaining an adequate workforce is becoming more and more difficult. Value-added produce arrives sliced, diced, and ready-to-use, which saves businesses time and money. Instead of prepping onions, employees can dedicate time to other essential tasks.

Once you have a reliable workforce in place, you don’t want to lose them to injury. Cuts are the number one most common injury in commercial kitchens. Value-added fresh produce means less cutting and less risk.

Value-Add Number Two: Consistent Yield and Quality

When you purchase bulk vegetables, you can never be quite sure exactly what you are going to get. Did you know that a third of a sack of bulk onions is waste? That means you aren’t really getting 50 lbs of usable onion in that 50 lb sack.

On the other hand, when you buy value-added onions, you know exactly what you are going to get. Value-added onions arrive with consistent quality and consistent yield every time. When you buy a 30 lbs box of Gills Whole Peeled Onions, you get 30 lbs of ready-to-use onions.

Plus, the cost of value-added products doesn’t change by season or based on demand. That means you get the bonus benefit of consistent pricing, too.

Value-Add Number Three: Cleaner Kitchen

Unprepped, raw vegetables can bring unsanitary dirt and bacteria into your kitchen. Raw bulk onions are one of the worst offenders. Our testing shows that bulk onions can contain 100 to 1000 times more bacteria, yeasts, and molds than our value-added onions. The minute contaminants enter your kitchen, they can spread to other surfaces and foods.

Value-added produce increases your confidence that your kitchen, and the food leaving it, is clean and safe for everyone.

Ready, Get Set, Get Value-Added

At Gills Onions, we know that value-added fresh produce is one of the most valuable investments you can make. It improves nearly every aspect of foodservice, from the time ingredients arrive in your kitchen to the time someone eats your food. Value-added produce means less prep, less waste, more safety, and — if you’re using Gills Onions – more taste. So don’t wait. Start adding value to your business with value-added fresh produce today.

Ready to try onions grown “The Gills Way”? Contact our sales department to learn more. 

Our Year-Round Supply

The Secret to Storing Onions 

At Gills Onions, we deliver the best and freshest onions to our customers year-round, but we only harvest onions from April to November. What do we do the rest of the year? The answer is storage onions. Storing onions is an art. It’s one that we’ve perfected over many years with our special onion-growing prescription. It starts with seed selection and ends with a delicious onion arriving in your kitchen. And if we’ve done our job correctly, you’ll never be able to tell which onions are storage onions and which are coming to you in-season. 

Our Unique Approach

Storing onions isn’t unique to our operation. Onions are only harvested certain months of the year, but society uses onions all year long. The only way to keep supplying the onions is to store them. You’ve probably been using storage onions your whole life and simply never realized it. What does make Gills Onions unique is how we approach the storing process. Storage onions have to stay fresh for around six months in cold storage. The storage season starts in September or October each year and extends all the way until April. That’s why seed selection and onion variety are so crucial. 

Gills Onions currently grows around a dozen varieties of onions. These varieties are selected for their flavor and longevity. Then, the seeds are matched with growing environments that will produce the best results from hot, more desert-like environments to fields in cooler regions like Bakersfield, King City, and the Salinas Valley. During the growing process, adjustments must be made for onions that will be spending time in storage. We pull back on the use of fertilizers and nitrogen to allow calcium in the onions to build a strong cell wall that will withstand natural cellular breakdowns that occur over time. At harvest time, onions are dug up and cured in the sun for 7 to 10 days. Curing is an essential part of the storage process. Onions that aren’t cured properly will decay quickly in storage. Bulk onion operations place unpeeled onions loose or in bags into a cold storage warehouse. Often, heat is used to dry out the onions and prevent decay, but this can mean sacrificing flavor. 

As a fresh cut processor, our onions are harvested, sorted and placed into bins before storing. The onions are also pre-cooled to gradually bring them down to storage temperatures. This gradual cooling keeps the onions from sweating and building up moisture that causes mold. In storage, the onions are kept at 34 degrees Fahrenheit and 75% humidity for optimum freshness. During the storage season, the onions are routinely checked for quality. Onions with internal or external decay, sun damage, or mechanical damage from the peeling process are removed from storage. The onions’ color can also be an indicator of freshness. Yellow or green centers mean an onion is reaching its point of longevity for storage.

Making a Great Storage Onion 

Some varieties of onions naturally stay fresh longer than others, and even the most subtle physical attributes, like shape, can affect the way an onion withstands the storing process. Storage onions should have single centers instead of multiple centers. Those with double or triple centers break down faster, and won’t stay fresh for long. We constantly evaluate and re-evaluate how each variety of onion is performing in storage. Like any crop, onion genetics change over time. If a variety we have loved is now producing onions with undesirable attributes – like multiple centers – we stop using it and replace it with a better-performing variety. Quality always comes first. 

Year-Round Quantity with Gills Onions Quality 

At Gills Onions, we are dedicated to providing the best onions at the best price. We take our responsibility to our environment, our customers, and of course, our onions, seriously. With our strict storage onions growing program, we can deliver the best tasting and freshest product year-round. Our customers get consistent quality, a consistent price, and consistent availability all 365 days of the year. 

But don’t take our word for it. Our onions speak for themselves. 

Ready to try onions grown “The Gill Way”? Contact our sales department to learn more.

Join the Double Your Impact Challenge

In the month of May, Gills Onions will match all donations up to $12,500 for every dollar donated to Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG) as part of SEEAG’s third annual Double Your Impact Challenge.

“The generosity of our friends at Gill’s Onions means SEEAG will receive as much as $25,000 to support our Farm Lab program,” says Mary Maranville, SEEAG’s founder and CEO.  “Farm Lab is a combination of classroom learning and farm field trips where students learn all about the origins of their food, particularly locally-grown food. The money raised will enable us to reach more students across Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.”

A Mission to Teach and Share

Gills Onions is a long-time supporter of SEEAG’s agricultural education programming that has reached over 60,000 elementary school students since its founding in 2008. All SEEAG programs are 100 percent cost-free to schools and students.

“Teaching students about how food is grown and the benefits of eating locally-produced fruits and vegetables is one way to improve the health of our kids,” says Steve Gill, Gill’s Onions president and SEEAG board member. “Once kids learn about the farming and harvesting process and the benefits of fresh produce, they get excited about eating a more healthy diet.”

How You Can Help

All “Gill’s Onions Double Your Impact Challenge” matching donations go toward student learning:

Double Giving Levels:

  • $25 donation doubles to $50 – Print summer camp booklets for 100 students
  • $50 donation doubles to $100 – Pack farm-fresh resource bags for 200 students
  • $100 donation doubles to $200 – Send 200 students home with vegetable seedlings
  • $250 donation doubles to $500 – Fill up the SEEAG van for two weeks of summer camp travel
  • $500 donation doubles to $1,000 – Provide fresh snacks and materials for 800 students
  • $1,000 donation doubles to $2,000 – Covers the cost of six buses to bring students to Farm Lab

 For more information or to donate, visit www.seeag.org/doubleyourimpact.

Ready to try onions grown “The Gills Way”? Contact our sales department to learn more. 

2021 PMA Foodservice

It’s 2021, and PMA Foodservice is back! Our team at Gills Onions is so excited to be attending our first major industry event for foodservice since the COVID-19 pandemic. Our industry has seen unprecedented changes and faced many unforeseen challenges over the past year, but we are ready to join with our partners … because foodservice is back in business. 

There’s no better way to celebrate how far we’ve come than PMA Foodservice. 

What You Need to Know About PMA Foodservice

PMA Foodservice Conference & Expo will be taking place July 21–22, 2021, in Monterey, California. This year, PMA is celebrating the resilience of the industry and reconnecting buyers and sellers at its 40th anniversary event. 

At PMA Foodservice, you’ll find attendees from every corner of our industry, including operators, distributors, and retail foodservice buyers; grower-shippers and processors (like Gills Onions); and even business solutions providers. It gives everyone a chance to connect, learn about innovations, and of course, do business. 

At Gills Onions, we are so excited to be back at PMA Foodservice doing what we do best: sharing the good news of fresh fruits and vegetables. We love the chance to show why we are the best at what we do and how we lead in sustainability, food safety, value-add, and flavor. We believe in doing business the old-fashioned way — with a handshake and a face-to-face conversation, building relationships that last. 

We’re Proud to Stand With Our Partners

We’re proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our partners in foodservice as we enter the post-pandemic world. It’s no secret that 2020 was difficult, and Gills Onions wasn’t immune. Restaurants closed and reopened and closed again. New mandates and restrictions forced us to get creative and adapt how we do business. Businesses across our industry had to make difficult decisions to reduce staff, and at times, it seemed like things would never return to “normal.” 

Now, in 2021, some things are starting to look a bit more familiar. But, with a national labor shortage, reducing costs and labor in the kitchen is more important than ever. At Gills Onions, we are proud to offer a value-added product that saves kitchens time and money on labor and transportation costs. And, onions are one of the most commonly used products across foodservice. (It makes sense. They’re delicious and versatile.) 

We also took the time in 2020 to prepare our business for the next 40 years of service. We upgraded our technology to incorporate state of the art equipment that allows us to deliver products more quickly and more safely than ever before. 

PMA Foodservice is the perfect time to stand together and share an optimistic vision of the future. We all survived, and now it is time to thrive. 

Come Visit Us at PMA Foodservice

If you’ll be joining us at PMA Foodservice, stop by and say hello! Have a chat with our founder, Steve Gill, at booth 415. 

If you won’t be attending PMA Foodservice in person, you can still be part of the experience. Our team at Gills Onions will be online and ready to answer all your questions virtually during the conference. 

We can’t wait to see you!

Ready to try onions the Gills Way? For more information, contact our sales department.

The Foodservice Recovery: How Value-Added Can Make a Difference

Innovation has always been essential for success in the foodservice industry. The COVID-19 pandemic has proved that principle once again. In unprecedented ways, the foodservice community has had to adapt to survive. In 2021, the industry is starting to recover, and innovation will be needed once again. 

At Gills Onions, we support our customers by offering value-added products that save them time and money. If you haven’t incorporated value-added produce into your line-up, now is the time. It’s an out-of-the-box — or in our case, out-of-the-bag — solution that can buoy up your business. And, our vegetables taste pretty amazing, too. 

The Challenges Facing Foodservice Recovery

As restaurants begin to reopen for indoor dining, it’s quickly becoming obvious that this isn’t a return to “normal.” Nothing is truly like what it was before quarantines and shutdowns. Take sanitation for example. Kitchens have always had high standards for cleanliness, but protecting food from germs and contamination has never been more important. 

Another new challenge is labor. The foodservice industry is starving, with retailers trying everything they can to attract interested prospective hires. One manager even recently offered to pay individuals $50 for simply coming in for a job interview. No one responded. Many businesses can’t offer pay that is competitive enough to beat out the combination of federal stimulus benefits and regular unemployment checks. And, with minimum wage and other employee cost increases, labor is becoming even more costly. 

Value-Added Products Can Solve These Challenges

Though the landscape can feel bleak, value-added products are a solution that you may not have considered. In a world where nothing has been consistent, these products can be the consistent force that helps stabilize a business. Here’s how:

  • Price. The cost of value-added products doesn’t change based on season or demand. Consistent pricing allows owners and chefs to plan budgets far in advance. 
  • Quality. At Gills Onions, we guarantee that our products offer consistent quality and yield. You always know exactly what you are going to get. One third of a sack of bulk onions is waste. That means you’re not really getting 50 pounds of usable onions. With value-added products, you know exactly how much usable product you’ll be receiving every time. 
  • Cleanliness. Bulk onions can bring harmful bacteria into your kitchen. Value-added products arrive cleaned, prepped, and ready to use. 
  • Labor. Speaking of arriving ready-to-use, value-added products save time and money by eliminating the labor needed to prep onions for use. Employees can dedicate their time to other essential tasks. 
  • Safety. Value-added products keep employees safe by reducing the risk of knife injuries. 

Use Gills Onions as a Resource

Our decades supporting the foodservice industry put us in a unique position to offer support and assistance at this unique time. We know your pain points, and we want to help you reach your full potential. We hope to be a resource to sales teams as they go out and sell produce, and a resource for producing the amazing value-added products that serve owners and chefs across the United States and Canada. 

Together, we can recover, and we will get back to what we all do best — bringing amazing food to the world. 

Ready to try onions grown “The Gill Way”? Contact our sales department to learn more.

Cloud Kitchens: An Innovative Take on Foodservice

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 17% of US restaurants have closed their doors. In straight numbers, that translates to over 110,000 dining rooms that used to be filled with hungry customers. Since our onions used to be on the plates that now sit empty, we intimately understand the challenges restaurants are facing. 

With the industry in free fall, restaurant owners and chefs have been forced to adapt to survive. For some, cloud kitchens have been the answer. Let’s take a deeper look.

What Is a Cloud Kitchen?

Cloud kitchens, or ghost kitchens as some prefer to call them, allow restaurants and food brands to prepare meals for delivery and take out without a permanent brick and mortar space. These stripped-down versions of commercial kitchens are straight food preparation space — no dine-in option. But, they have everything needed to craft beautiful dishes with commercial kitchen equipment, dishwashers, and cold storage. Caterers have used these spaces for years to prepare meals for offsite events. 

Before the pandemic, about 15% of operators reported using a cloud kitchen, but by May of 2020, 51% of operators had turned to cloud kitchens to prepare some or all of their delivery orders. Other operators moved solely to cloud kitchens paired with take-out and delivery services to meet growing demands amidst lockdowns and quarantines. 

Food delivery apps have made delivery accessible and easy for everyone, with delivery sales growing 300% faster than dine-in over the last five years. That growth has only accelerated since COVID-19 arrived. 

The Cloud Kitchen Business Model

So, how exactly does a cloud kitchen work? Operators rent kitchen space from a landlord who owns kitchen facilities. These spaces are most common in densely populated urban areas. With kitchen space rented (for cheaper than the overhead of a restaurant space), brands get onto a food delivery app and start filling orders. The orders are picked up and sent out from the cloud kitchen space instead of a restaurant. 

Cloud kitchens have been used to launch new food brands for less. By having purely virtual interactions with customers, operators save on the cost of equipment, the cost of space, and the cost of labor. Existing brands have also used cloud kitchens to meet demand or expand their delivery range. 

But it’s not all easy money and success with cloud kitchens. Competition in delivery apps is growing. The perks of a storefront are free advertising and food traffic, sales boosts you don’t get when your restaurant is virtual. Chefs are also restricted by delivery area. A typical delivery radius is 3 to 5 miles from the kitchen, so you may be able to find kitchen space for cheap, but are there customers around? And let’s not forget that there is only so much kitchen space up for grabs.

Still, many brands have found cloud kitchens are the key to their success in a post-COVID market. 

Effects of Cloud Kitchens on the Ag Industry 

What challenges restaurants challenges the farmers who supply them. If there’s no one to eat food, the food doesn’t leave the field. At Gills Onions, many of our products are designed specifically with the food industry in mind. Items like our Whole Peeled Onions, Sliced Onions, and Slivered Onions are prepared and packaged to make chefs’ work easier and safer. When restaurants close their doors, agriculture hurts, too. 

Cloud kitchens are one innovative solution that the restaurant industry is using to bounce back, and they benefit those of us in agriculture just as much as those in food service. Cloud kitchens also present a unique opportunity for brands to partner with local farmers and source fresh produce from their own areas. 

Time will tell how the cloud kitchen concept develops and grows, but one thing is for sure: restaurants are here to stay, and we’ll be there to make sure they have all the onions they need. 

Ready to try onions the Gills Way? For more information, contact our sales department. 

Reducing Cross-Contamination: Tips for Keeping Foods Apart in Your Commercial Kitchen

So much of commercial kitchen safety is synonymous with food safety. When you work in foodservice, it is paramount that your kitchen stays clean. But what happens when the food in your kitchen is the culprit?

Cross-contamination — the transfer of harmful bacteria in a kitchen from food, surfaces, and utensils — is too easily overlooked. Doing so can have serious consequences. The good news is that the risk of cross-contamination can also easily be reduced. Just keep these tips in mind. 

Store Items Separately

From the time food arrives in your kitchen and throughout its time in storage, it is crucial that you keep foods apart. Remember, foods need contact to cross-contaminate. 

Raw meats, poultry, and seafood should be kept in sealed containers or bags to prevent their juices from leaking onto surfaces or other foods. Meats that are marinating should also be kept in cold storage. All of these products should be refrigerated in a separate area from other foods like vegetables, fruits, and dairy. 

Similarly, items like fresh eggs should stay in their original packaging and be refrigerated as soon as they are delivered. 

Make Food Prep a Cleaner Process

The first rule of safe food prep is wash — wash often and wash well. 

All employees should wash their hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after they work with food in the kitchen. They should also wash hands before switching between foods. 

Hot soapy water should also be used along with disposable paper towels or clean kitchen cloths to wipe down surfaces in the kitchen or clean up spills during food preparation. Cloths should only be used once and then should be sanitized in a hot washing machine cycle before being used again. 

Every utensil used in the kitchen should be washed just as religiously — including cutting boards, dishes, spoons, knives, measuring cups, etc. 

Never reuse a cutting board. Cutting boards should always be clean and used for one type of food — one board for raw meat, another for produce, another for seafood, another for poultry, and so on. 

Finished food should be placed on a clean plate. Never put cooked food back onto a plate that held it raw. 

Value-Added Onions Reduce Cross-Contamination

Did you know that unpeeled raw onions bought in bulk can bring unsanitary dirt and bacteria into your kitchen? 

Extensive testing shows that sack onions can contain 100 to 1000 times more bacteria, yeasts, and molds than Gills Whole Peeled Onions. The key to a cleaner kitchen is eliminating these germs before they arrive. 

Every Gills onion goes through an HACCP-approved cleaning process with chlorine dioxide treated water, metal detection, and strict temperature controls. Our in-house laboratory is fully equipped with expert staff that oversee and verify the cleanliness of both our product and our equipment.

Our products are also verified by a host of reputable third-party organizations including:

  • Primus 
  • AIB 
  • NSF Davis Fresh
  • Steritech
  • US Army 
  • NSF
  • NSF Quality Assurance International

And our cleaning and preparation program is both SQF3 certified and GTiM compliant. 

With Gills Whole Peeled Onions, you can reduce the risk of cross-contamination and enjoy the best onions in the business. But don’t take our word for it. Our onions speak for themselves. 

Ready to try onions the Gills Way? For more information, contact our sales department
 

4 Benefits of Using Value-Added Diced Onions

If you’re still chopping onions, it’s a crying shame. 

At Gills Onions, we know there is a better way to bring quality onions from the field to your kitchen. It starts and ends with Gills Diced Onions, and here’s why you should make the change to value-added onions. 

1) Cut Down Your Labor and Amp Up Your Worker Safety

On average, it takes 90 minutes to whole peel and dice a 50 lb sack of onions that will result in approximately 30 to 35 lbs of usable onions. And all that time spent peeling and chopping creates opportunities for dangerous knife injuries. Cuts, lacerations, and punctures are the number one most common injury in commercial kitchens. Diced onions eliminate these problems. 

Each 5 lb bag of Gills Diced Onions arrives perfectly diced and ready to use. We guarantee not only consistent quality but also consistent cut, consistent price, and consistent yield. When you open a bag of Gills Diced Onions, you know what you’ll find: 19 cups of beautifully diced onions that cost you the same price year-round and cost you nothing in labor. If you heavily use diced onions in your kitchen, the savings can be tremendous. 

Many chefs choose to streamline their labor by selecting one cut and size of onions, putting all the onion product needed for every recipe in their kitchen into one bag. You’ll also save on storage space. Our bags of ready-to-use onions reduce the amount of excess packaging and boxes in your fridge. Use our Product Calculator to see how much you could save in labor and overall costs by switching to diced onions.

2) Delicious Meals Start With Diced Onions

Gills Diced Onions are always recipe ready. We conveniently package our onions in a variety of sizes to best fit your culinary creations. They taste great, and they look great, too. 

Diced onions add flavor and texture to soups, salsas, and sauces. They can also act as toppers for chili, hot dogs, and potatoes. Combine Gills Diced Onions with cucumbers, baby dill, sour cream, horseradish, and freshly cracked black pepper to create a delicious side for whitefish. Or, sauté diced onions with red potatoes, parsley, and pancetta to create a flavorful breakfast hash. Make an unexpected trio of diced onions, red seedless grapes, and Italian parsley to serve under seared sea scallops. The culinary possibilities are endless. 

3) You Can’t Beat Our Shelf Life 

Gills Onions have the longest shelf life in the industry — 18 days — and are always preservative-free. 

Our signature prescription for seed selection and growing programs create onions that stay fresh longer and resist the natural chemical breakdowns that result in spoiling. 

We pillow pack our products instead of the industry standard hard pack, so they never produce foul onion juice during shipment. Pillow packing creates a more natural environment where onions thrive. And Gills Diced Onions arrive to your kitchen in a zipper top 5 lb bag, making it easy to seal the bag of onions, keep them fresh, and use them later. 

4) We’re the Onion Experts 

For over 35 years, our growers have cultivated the fields of Southern and Central California “The Gill Way,” applying our unique prescription of best practices and conservation techniques to create truly exceptional onions. We grow, harvest, wash, peel, trim, and dice every onion that arrives in your kitchen. 

We are onion experts. It’s what we do, and we do it best. But don’t take our word for it. Our onions speak for themselves. 

Ready to try onions the Gills Way? For more information, contact our sales department

Gills Onions Can Help Restaurants Cut Costs and Combat COVID-19

COVID-19 has rocked the restaurant industry, with losses expected up to $240 billion by the end of 2020. At the height of quarantines and shutdowns, the average restaurant was forced to lay off 91% of their hourly workforce and 70% of salaried employees

Now, restaurants are facing the daunting challenge of reopening. There is an increased need to reduce labor and overall costs to compensate for capacity caps and slow returning customers. All restaurants — small, medium, and large — are rethinking their strategy, especially in the kitchen. 

An Increased Need for Value-Added 

Labor has always been a costly part of hospitality, but during and after the COVID-19 crisis, the cost of labor has become — and will continue to be — even more complicated. Staff need to be re-hired and re-trained for new standards of safety. And, with many businesses serving smaller numbers of customers and having a limited menu, staff is likely to remain small. 

Even with a properly trained staff that is in compliance with new health and safety standards, restaurant owners need to make sure that customers feel safe. Currently, only 62% of consumers believe that cooking food kills coronavirus, even though the CDC has confirmed that the virus does not spread through food. Reports show that 15% of customers are most concerned about returning to restaurants because of staff preparing or handling food. 

Value-added products reduce labor needs and minimize handling and exposure. 

For example, it typically takes 90 minutes for an employee to whole peel and dice a 50 lb sack of onions that will result in approximately 30 to 35 lbs of usable onions. That’s 90 minutes that onions are handled and exposed. 

As a value-added alternative, Gills Diced Onions limit the “touch factor” by arriving to the kitchen perfectly diced, perfectly clean, and ready to use. Each 5 lb bag offers 19 cups of diced onions that cost nothing in labor and can immediately be scooped or poured into recipes with little or no touch from employees. 

How Much Will You Save?

Buying a value-added product means that restaurant owners and chefs can more accurately plan for kitchen costs. The price of sack onions can fluctuate based on season and demand, while value-added products cost the same price year-round. 

At Gills Onions, onions are our specialty. If you heavily use onions in your kitchen, the savings can be tremendous. 

Many chefs choose to streamline their labor by selecting one cut and size of onions, putting all the onion product needed for every recipe in their kitchen into one bag. You’ll also save on storage space. Our bags of ready-to-use onions reduce the amount of excess packaging and boxes in your fridge. 

Use our Product Calculator to see how much you could save in labor and overall costs by switching to diced onions.

Our Team Is Here to Support You 

Even before the pandemic, Gills Onions has been committed to setting the standard in food safety. Our priority is protecting the integrity of our product through each step of processing and shipment so your kitchen can stay clean and continue to serve your customers.  

Our value-added products can cut costs and reduce needed labor as you rebuild. Together, we can face the challenges ahead and emerge stronger on the other side. We’re here to help, and we can’t wait to partner with you. 

Ready to try onions the Gills Way? For more information, contact our sales department.

5 Benefits of Using Whole Peeled Onions

The Power of a Whole Peeled Onion Program

Everyone hates peeling onions, but everyone loves eating them. For a long time, welcoming your onion order to your kitchen by sitting down and peeling through the pain was just part of life. Not anymore. At Gills Onions, we’ve pioneered a better way to bring onions from the field to your kitchen. It’s called whole peeled onions, and here’s why you should make the change. 

1. Stop Wasting Time and Start Cooking

Prepping a raw bulk onion order is one of the most labor-intensive tasks in the kitchen. Based on figures from the United States Department of Agriculture, one 50 lb sack can contain about 200 raw onions. Peeling and washing each of those onions—not to mention the time it takes to clean up afterwards—can consume a large portion of the workday. And all that time spent peeling creates an opportunity for dangerous knife injuries. Cuts, lacerations, and punctures are the number one most common injury in commercial kitchens. Whole peeled onions eliminate these problems. Each onion arrives ready to be sliced, diced, or slivered into your next great meal, saving time and keeping workers safe. 

2. Keep Your Kitchen Clean

Unpeeled raw onions can bring unsanitary dirt and bacteria into your kitchen. Extensive testing shows that bulk onions can contain 100 to 1000 times more bacteria, yeasts, and molds than Gills Whole Peeled Onions. Once those contaminants are in your kitchen space, it’s easy for them to spread to other surfaces and foods, and it’s difficult for you to stop them. 

Whole peeled onions offer a more hygienic alternative. Every Gills onion goes through an HACCP-approved cleaning process with chlorinated water, metal detection, and strict temperature controls. Our in-house laboratory verifies the cleanliness of each onion and piece of equipment. This allows us to guarantee that when you receive a shipment of our whole peeled onions, you are welcoming the safest possible product into your kitchen. 

3. Quality You Can Trust

Gills Whole Peeled Onions have the longest shelf life in the industry and are always preservative-free. Our signature prescription for seed selection and growing programs create onions with less water in the cell structure than the typical raw onion. Less water means the onion stays fresh longer and resists the natural chemical breakdowns that result in spoiling. 

4. Eliminate Waste and Save Money

More than 400 loads of sack onions are shipped and consumed daily in the United States. One in every three of those loads is onion waste. That means that one out of every three containers of your bulk onions is trash. By the time you’ve finished prepping, you’ve peeled away a third of your inventory with nothing to show for it. Switching to whole peeled onions guarantees a consistent yield. What you order is what you get — 100 percent usable product of the highest quality onions. Eliminating waste helps your bottom line. On an annual basis, the decision to use whole peeled onions means you will at least come out even cost wise. Many customers find their costs are lower than before, saving them money and resources. 

5. Total Traceability 

At Gills Onions, we believe in total traceability, all the way back to the seed. For over 35 years, our growers have cultivated the fields of Southern and Central California “The Gill Way,” applying our unique prescription of best practices and conservation techniques to create truly exceptional onions. We grow, harvest, wash, peel, and trim every onion that arrives in your kitchen. Only the best onions become a Gills Whole Peeled Onion.

We are onion experts. It’s what we do, and we do it best. But don’t take our word for it. Our onions speak for themselves. 

Ready to see just how much you can save by switching to Whole Peeled Onions? Use our Product Calculator.

5 Food Safety Tips for Your Commercial Kitchen

Americans love to eat. It’s part of our daily routines and celebrations, and it’s a way to relax and unwind after a long day. 

Unfortunately, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 48 million Americans get sick from a foodborne illness each year. That means that 1 in 6 Americans order a special treat from a commercial kitchen and go home with a doggy bag of disease-causing contaminates. Not the night out you were looking for, right?

But there are simple steps you can take to increase commercial kitchen safety, keep your customers and employees safe, and give you peace of mind. 

1. Wear Gloves and Wash Hands Frequently 

While these steps may seem obvious, they are key to preventing cross-contamination in your kitchen. Remember, even the tiniest amount of bacteria can make a person sick. Provide a dedicated employee hand washing station near the entrance to your kitchen. Require all employees to wash their hands with soap and running water for a minimum of 20 seconds before touching anything else in the kitchen. 

Once their hands are washed, employees should wear kitchen gloves anytime they are interacting with food. But, gloves can give employees a false sense of safety. Remind them that gloves must be changed frequently, especially when switching between foods like raw meat, poultry, and prepared food ready to leave the kitchen. 

2. Wash Fruits and Vegetables

Even fresh fruits and vegetables that are peeled or skinned before use need to be washed. Otherwise, you risk spreading germs from the outside of the produce to the inside portions that people will consume. 

Designate a colander solely for washing fruits and vegetables. It shouldn’t be used for any other foods like raw meats or pastas. Run fruits and vegetables under cool running water and scrub well. You can also use an FDA-approved fruit and vegetable rinse for an extra-thorough cleaning. 

3. Be Mindful of Food Storage Temperatures

Separate cold food storage areas should be used for raw meats, produce, and other prepared foods like sauces or dips. Fresh cut vegetables need to be properly stored away in cold storage and never left out at room temperature. 

Foods of any kind should never be stored on the floor, and it is helpful to have thermometers to measure temperature in both freezers and refrigerators. 

4. Don’t Mess with Shelf Life 

Never use old or expired food. If it looks like you shouldn’t use it, don’t. It’s always better to throw out an unused product in foodservice than to risk making someone sick. Clearly label foods to keep track of when items arrive in your kitchen. 

5. Use Gills Onions 

Gills Onions is committed to setting the standard in food safety. Our priority is protecting the integrity of our product through each step of processing and shipment. Here are a few ways our process and our product can help you increase the safety of your kitchen.  

Bulk onions can contain 100 to 1000 times more bacteria, yeasts, and molds than Gills Whole Peeled Onions. Once these contaminants enter your kitchen, it becomes very difficult to get them out. Instead, you can eliminate these germs before they arrive by investing in a fresh, value-added product. 

Industry standard practices hard vacuum pack fresh cut products, but this method creates ideal conditions for lactic acid bacterial growth, spoiling the product faster and delivering a sour, fermented smell. 

At Gills Onions, we’ve found a better, safer, and cleaner way. We gently pillow pack our onions, leaving some oxygen present in the bag. This prevents water accumulation and the growth of unwanted microorganisms. 

And, our onions offer the longest shelf life in the industry. 

Ready to try onions the Gills Way? For more information, contact our sales department

Perfectly Pureed Onions

Let’s talk about puree. 

Our pureed onions are another great addition to the Gills Onions line-up of value-added products. They represent a niche space in our fresh onion offering — but it’s a delicious space. Take a look at how our pureed onions are made and some of the unique ways they can be used in your kitchen. 

Value-Added Onions in a Perfect Puree

Gills Pureed Onions start exactly like the rest of our fresh-cut onion products. Each onion seed is planted and nurtured “The Gill Way” with our signature onion-growing prescription. Those seeds grow into the industry’s best tasting and longest lasting onions. Then, they arrive at our state-of-the-art processing facility, destined to become a perfect puree. 

We puree onions on the first and third Friday of every month. Gills Yellow Onions enter whole and exit as a finely diced puree, packaged with 1.5% citric acid in a 38-pound pail. Every batch of pureed onions is Kosher-certified and gluten-free. Gills Onions’ industry-leading shelf-life extends to our pureed pails. When packaging and storing instructions are followed, the product remains fresh up to 30 days from the date of manufacture. 

Working with the Smooth Taste of Pureed Onions

Pureed onions can be the secret ingredient your recipes have been missing. The pureed form makes the onions easy to combine into a variety of dishes, bringing delicious onion flavor without the crunchy onion texture. 

Use pureed onions to spice up your signature salad dressing or selection of sauces. You can also try adding pureed onions to sausages or hot dogs for a bonus burst of flavor. Pureed onions can serve as an alternative to cream in soups and risottos to make vegan-friendly options or to simply enjoy a bright onion flavor. 

For an upscale feel, season and plate onion puree as a stand-alone dish that accompanies steak, pork, or chicken. 

Life Is Easier and Better with Gills Onions

Gills Pureed Onions eliminate unnecessary labor from your kitchen and save you valuable prep time. You no longer have to fear knife injuries, and you get the value-add of easy storage and a  long shelf life. 

From pureed to whole peeled to diced and sliced, Gills Onions has every type of onion you need to create truly unforgettable dishes. We are onion experts. It’s what we do, and we do it best. But don’t take our word for it. Our onions speak for themselves. 

Ready to try onions the Gills Way? For more information, contact our sales department.