part two, I sell onions on the Internet

** looks at watch **

oh my Lordy … it’s been two years.

If you remember, I sell onions on the internet. Vidalia onions, to be exact.. You can read part one here if you want.

Vidalia Onion shipping boxes
Boxes of Vidalia onions ready for shipping
The thought of following up that first post never occurred to me, until it did. And then it sorta made sense. Farming can be wildly erratic at times, so a follow up post seemed to make sense, as a friendly update.

So in the spirit of ‘our farm is your farm‘, here are some updates from south Georgia & Vidalia Onion growing country. In no particular order:

🧅 Covid-19 was a curveball, but since everyone was homebound, & we were deemed an ‘essential service’, we kept moving, and continued to actively ship throughout April – late June of 2020 (and grew 50% in the process).

🧅 Our 2020 crop was a challenge. During growing season, we received over 30 inches of rain in a weekend, which sped up the maturation process, and caused a small percentage of Vidalias to retain more water than normal. Meaning, some burst when in-transit. Essentially, a wet, crummy experience for our customers. Virtually all these customers were forgiving, and openly welcomed an additional box at no charge. Others I refunded 100%. Mother Nature can be challenging.

🧅 A local Georgia artist sent out a work request on Twitter, so we hired him to draw our local map, plus a pic of Yumion (the Vidalia Onion mascot). Thanks so much Jamie!

Vidalia Onion map Yumion

🧅 GoDaddy dropped by the farm, and produced this video (I’m the tall goof on the right – Aries on the left). Many thanks to Paul Nicks of GoDaddy for coordinating:

🧅 We re-invested some of our 2020 profit into a re-designed website, which we highlight & showcase here. While our first design was ‘good enough’, that never sat well with me. Jill helped us polish the design, and add fun widgets like a coverage map where we’ve shipped onions over the years:

Where we've shipped Vidalia Onions

🧅 In 2019, someone reached out regarding the sale of domain name Onions.com. We weren’t terribly interested at first, but ~ after we slept on it ~ decided to pull the trigger and acquire it. We haven’t quite figured out what to do with it yet, to be honest; I’m confident it’ll tell us at some point. I get enough satisfaction from Aries using it for email, and hearing his feedback from farmer friends; ie ” how in da hell did you get that email address!?! “ … that might be its ultimate purpose.

🧅 When Aries and I began this project, he was General Manager at M&T Farms. In 2020, the opportunity arose for him to purchase the entire farm, which he did. He then changed the farms name to A&M Farm (ie Aries & Megan, his wife). Nothing else changed – just the name, essentially.

🧅 And while I didn’t mention it in my first article, it’s worth mentioning now. In 2017/’18, Aries – my partner & genius behind the Vidalia we sell – was diagnosed with colon cancer. Stage 3b. He was 34 years old at the time. RFD-TV was kind enough to share the story:

I remember Aries telling me much of 2017 & 2018 was a blur. Like he mentions in that video – you think your life’s on cruise control, until something like that hits. I just recall my internal insistence to be actively-invisible, to quietly maintain & service VidaliaOnions.com, so he could focus on himself. And that’s what I did. I just wanted to share good news with him, maybe some growth metrics. Those were available, thankfully, as we continued to expand during those years.

In late 2018, the positive news came, he was on the mend. The prayers, positive thoughts, the science & medication helped push this beast back. I’m not sure what I’d do without him. I’m quite thankful.

Aries Haygood in field of Vidalia Onions
Aries in a field of Vidalia Onions
Over the years, Aries and I have developed the same perspective on building. And serving. Essentially, ‘how can we be helpful’, or become better servants. In life. In relationships. In our daily life. This project continues to push us in this direction, and gently mold our identity.

Funny how projects start guiding you, instead of you guiding them.

After the first ‘I sell onions on the internet’ article gained some exposure, I was at a conference, and someone hollered out, ‘Hey! ONION MAN!’ My initial reaction was to immediately scan the room for this kindred spirit – my onion doppelgänger. Until I realized they were yelling at me. I felt quite proud in that moment. Odd how this project has changed me. I’m so fortunate to have stumbled into it.

I’m Peter Askew, and I sell onions on the internet.



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