Gills Onions Featured on the Science Channel's "HOW IT'S MADE" Series

How It's Made

December 7, 2009 Oxnard, CA – The world’s largest fresh cut onion processing plant is the topic of a “HOW IT’S MADE” segment appearing on Discovery’s Science Channel, Friday, December 18th at 9:00 PM (check your local listings to confirm the time). The “HOW IT’S MADE” series presents behind-the-scenes views of interesting and unusual manufacturing processes from around the world.

Gills Onions’ “HOW IT’S MADE” segment provides a unique, inside view of how fresh cut onions are readied for market. In the 1980’s, farming brothers Steve and David Gill were asked by a salsa manufacturing company to provide diced onions for its products. Before then, the only way to wash, skin, slice and dice onions was by hand in the kitchen. Steve and David Gill had to figure out how to deliver fresh cut onions.

“Nobody knew anything about processing onions when we started, and learning how to took a long time,” said Steve Gill. After several years of trial and error, the Gills developed proprietary equipment and processes to peel, dice, and slice onions and ship them in small and large packages all over the country to supermarkets, retailers, restaurants, institutional food services, and other food processors. “Today, Gills Onions are found in everything from salsa to spaghetti sauce to fast food chains around the nation. We also have our Gills’ Onions available nationally to consumers in the fresh produce section of their supermarkets,” Steve Gill confirmed.

A 4-person film crew shot Gills fresh cut onion process, people and facility. “The professionalism and experience of the “HOW IT’S MADE” film crew, with over 600 segments under their belts, was evident in how they dove right in and worked from early morning until late in the evening to cover our facility,” noted Nikki Rodoni, Gills Onions Director of Sustainability. “It’s amazing how a 12-hour day of filming is edited down to a 4 minute, 40 second segment while accurately depicting all our processes in enough detail to tell the story.”

The completed video plant tour reveals workers overseeing the many steps and specialized machinery required to skin, dice or slice onions, keep them refrigerated for freshness, and safely prepare them to ship to market for consumption. “We’re very excited about the final production and the upcoming broadcast this month on the Science Channel,” Nikki Rodoni concluded. “The video really shows how the Gills apply technology and innovation to develop solutions that created a whole new segment in the fresh produce industry.”

Gills Onions co-founders have always had a penchant for applying new technologies and methods to growing their business and to maximizing conservation and efficiency in all areas. As such, Gills Onions is at the forefront of sustainable agriculture and food processing – and recently earned the 2009 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA). GEELA is California’s highest and most prestigious environmental honor. Check out the 2009 GEELA Award PDF for more details.

For more about the “HOW IT’S MADE” series, visit: http://science.discovery.com/fansites/howitsmade/howitsmade.html.

More About Gills Onions

Gills Onions is a 26-year old, family owned and operated grower and food processor with the largest fresh onion processing plant in the world. In concert with sister company Rio Farms, the Gill brothers manage over 15,000 acres of farmland and 300,000 square feet of processing and warehouse facilities. Gills Onions is committed to continuous process improvement to positively impact the air, land, water, energy, and communities they rely upon for their livelihood.