(Oct. 7) Those who like Vidalia onions will probably also like the sweet onions from Peru, said Dave Munson, corporate chef for Keystone Fruit Marketing, Greencastle, Pa., which distributes Mayan Sweets brand Peruvian sweet onions.

“I grew up on Vidalias,” he said, and he has worked with Vidalias more than other types of onions. “I enjoy the Peruvian onions equally as much.”

The Mayan Sweet, he said, is first cousin to the Vidalia and has many of the same characteristics, including the thickness of the wall, sweetness level and overall flat profile of the sweet onion.

They both come from the same seed family.

“Performance wise, whether cooking or raw, they’re very close,” he said.

Munson specializes in product and recipe development for Keystone and helps support sweet onion sales with the company’s retail and foodservice accounts.

The company worked closely with Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Markets Inc.’s “Vidalias on the Veranda” promotion in the spring, and last year Wegmans featured Mayan Sweets during the Peruvian onion season. Munson hoped to repeat the Wegmans promotion this year to kick off the season.

“They do a bang-up job with the Mayans,” Munson said, including customer education and signage identifying the product.

Shoppers appear interested in Peruvian onions.

“Many customers seek out the produce manager and ask questions,” he said.

Sweet onions are made for salads, and they’re great eaten raw, Munson said.

Sweet onions also go well with fruit such as berries, peaches and apples, creating a light, complementary flavor, he said.

Munson said Keystone is preparing to launch a couple of new sweet onion products: breaded frozen onion rings and onion petals for foodservice.

“You pull it out of the bag and drop it in the fryer,” he said.

They should be popular items for quick service or casual-dining restaurants, he said.