Spring is here, and at Gills Onions that means one thing: harvest has begun! In addition to having the longest shelf life in the industry, Gills Onions is always one of the first to market in California with a fresh crop of delicious onions. We’re celebrating the transition from storage onions season to fresh onion season. Here’s why you should too.
What Fresh Onion Season Means for You
April 19 marks the start of the freshest Gills onions arriving to our customers. We are raking in fresh yellow onions from our fields across California. Red onion harvest will follow around the first part of May. Since our onions can always be relied on for fantastic flavor, you may wonder what differences you can see between onions fresh from harvest and those cultivated for storage season.
There are several notable perks to fresh onions. Virtually no odor can be detected from the onions that come directly from harvest. There also won’t be any green sprouting or telescoping, which can sometimes happen when an onion reaches the end of storage season and is trying to grow again. You’ll also notice some visible differences between fresh onions and storage onions. It’s common for fresh red onions to appear pale and even almost white. This color difference has to do with the early season varieties we plant and the fact that red onions develop a deeper color as they cure and wait to be processed. Your yellow onions may appear to be whiter as well for the same reasons.
What Harvest Season Looks Like at Gills Onions
At Gills Onions, we strategically time our onion planting, harvesting, and varieties so that we can meet the need for onions year-round. We typically harvest from April to November from three major growing areas of California. Each region has its own set of strengths that help us consistently produce quality onions.
Our fields in Imperial County (Brawley) are the first to harvest each year. This region gives us a strong onion supply as we transition out of storage onion season. Then, we move to Kern County (Bakersfield), where a large amount of our onion supply is grown. We plant such large amounts in this region because the environment favors short, intermediate, and long day onions alike. Finally, we move to harvest in the fall into Monterey County (King City). These fields provide the bulk of our storage onions.
In order to harvest over such a long span of time, we have to plan our planting accordingly. We typically start planting the Brawley fields in October or November each year so they are ready to start harvesting in April. The final fields in King City are usually finishing being planted as we start harvesting the Brawley crop in the spring. This strategy keeps growers busy, but it keeps our customers in delicious onions no matter the time of year.
Behind the Scenes of Harvest
This video gives you a brief behind the scenes look at how our onions are harvested. You’ll see two machines passing through the field. The first is a chopper, which cuts the green tops off of the onions. The second is the digger, which pulls the onions from under the ground onto the earth’s surface. Once these two machines have done their jobs, a row of beautiful fresh onions can clearly be seen.
These onions are left in the open air and warm sunlight to cure for two to three days. Then, they are picked up and transported to our sorting facility, where they are checked for quality. The best onions are loaded onto trucks and delivered to our processing facility in Oxnard, California, where they are washed, peeled, sometimes cut, and prepared for shipping to customers like you.
Gills Onions are 100 percent California grown and, boy, do they taste good. But don’t take our word for it. Fresh onions are on their way to you, and our onions speak for themselves.
Ready to try onions the Gills Way? For more information, contact our sales department.