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.

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. 

The Gills Industrial Onion Program

Quantity, Quality, and Flavor

When you buy a product by the truckload, you want to know that it’s the very best. At Gills Onions, we work with industrial customers to deliver the very best onions in the industry. We know that industrial operations depend on us to bring them massive amounts of onions with massive amounts of flavor. And, like any onion that goes out of our doors, each piece of an industrial shipment must be fresh. 

Industrial Onions Add Value to Your Operation

Industrial means big. In our case, industrial customers buy big batches of onions, and they see big value in return. Many industrial customers operate seasonally. One of our biggest client segments is the tomato sauce industry. When the summer tomato harvest rolls around, our truckloads of fresh onions roll out. 

Fresh cut onions add value to your operation by eliminating inefficiencies. When you purchase bulk fresh cut onions from Gills, you save in time, labor, and overall costs. One in every three loads of bulk onions is onion waste. That’s wasted inventory, wasted time, and wasted transportation costs. 

Gills Onions offers industrial batches of both whole peeled and diced onions. Our customers benefit from Gills’ industry-leading shelf life. Our industrial diced onion shipments are guaranteed fresh up to 11 days. Whole peeled onion bins stay fresh even longer — up to 18 days after manufacture.

What You Can Do with All Those Onions

Even though our industrial onions arrive in large batches, every piece comes from an onion that was held to the highest individual standards. Our onions are perfectly grown, cleaned, and cut under the watchful eye of expert growers and processors. They arrive to you fresh, flavorful, and ready-to-use. 

So what can you use them for? As we mentioned above, our onions are an essential part of the tomato sauce industry, but they are delicious in other sauces and condiments as well. Some of our industrial customers purchase whole peeled onions and take them to their own processing facilities to create specialty cuts for their own customers. A perfect example is the long, thin slices of onion you find in your favorite fajitas. 

Expand Your Horizons with Gills Onions

Buying in large quantities should never mean compromising on quality. At Gills Onions, we grow, harvest, wash, peel, trim, and cut every onion that arrives at your facility. We lead the industry in safety and quality assurance practices. From seed to shipment, we can confidently say that our onions are the very 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.