Faces Behind the Food:The Versatile Onion

We speak to local producers, all passionate about their work, who offer a behind the-scenes look into the food at your local Tesco store. Tony Doyle has been supplying onion to Tesco since 2005 for Country Crest in North Co Dublin. Here's what Tony had to say about producing fresh Irish produce for Tesco.

 

"Tesco asked Country Crest to “bring back” the Irish onion on their shelves as customers were asking for them. Our onions are grown in Dublin and Wexford.

I was tasked with reviving the Irish Onion industry to supply Tesco as there were little if any major growers left growing onions in Ireland.

Tesco needed to supply onions over the 12 months of the year so my first job was to programme both the Irish season and import season together to ensure full supply.

We selected some growers who were interested and provided information, research and technical assistance in the formative years of production. The Tesco technical team were of immense help to us during all stages of the programme.

We had huge challenges in delivering a quality onion for Tesco but fortunately our growers were up to the challenge.

We made huge investments in drying, curing and grading equipment so we could deliver to Tesco’s expectations.

Irish onions are sown in March harvested in September and on the shelves from September to the following April. A huge effort is put into reaching this programme.

The balance of May to September is filled by imports as the Irish season is finished then.

We have some very skilled people who specialise in getting the onions dry and presentable and its this team effort that delivers all the time.

Our people are passionate about the work they do and all the more so because it’s an Irish grown crop.

I look after all the planning in terms of programming the Irish crop and imports making sure that the customer gets exactly what they want.

The biggest challenge we have as onion suppliers is the vagaries of the Irish weather as this can effect quantity and quality. But sure where would we be without a challenge?

Our aim is to deliver the best of Irish to the customers."