Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Sets Official Pack Date
Gather your favorite spring and summer recipes, Vidalia® onion fans! The Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Vidalia Onion Committee announced that the pack date for the 2018 Vidalia Onion season is 8:00 a.m. Friday, April 20, 2018. Beloved by world-renowned chefs and home cooks alike, the versatile Vidalia will be available in stores and farmers markets after the pack date.
Grown and hand-cultivated exclusively in 20 southeastern Georgia counties by 80 registered growers and known for their sweet, distinctive flavor, Vidalia onions are available for a limited window of time in the spring and summer. Each year, the Vidalia Onion Advisory Panel, state agricultural scientists and the Department of Agriculture determine the pack date based on soil and weather conditions in South Georgia during the growing season.
“With great consideration after consultation with the Vidalia Advisory Panel, experts from the University of Georgia and crop assessments from the Georgia Federal State Inspection Service, I am pleased to announce April 20 as this year’s pack date for the official state vegetable of Georgia, the Vidalia onion,” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said. “We celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Vidalia onion trademark last year, and are looking forward to another bountiful crop as we kick off the next quarter century of delivering the highest quality Vidalia onions to consumers across the country.”
The Vidalia trademark is owned by the state of Georgia as a result of the Vidalia Onion Act of 1986. To be called a Vidalia onion, the vegetables must be cultivated in the South Georgia soil from a special Granex seed and packed and sold after the official pack date each year, resulting in only the highest-quality onions reaching Vidalia fans each season.
In 2017, Georgia grew over 11,000 acres of Vidalia onions with a value of more than $120 million, according to Troy Bland, chairman of the Vidalia Onion Committee. Bland said the committee will build on its successful marketing campaign launched last year through a wide range of outreach efforts to consumers and retailers alike.
The campaign highlights the provenance of the Vidalia onion, hand-crafted by grower artisans for more than 80 years in Georgia, reminding consumers that only Vidalia onions have the sweet, mild flavor profile that cooks love.
Vidalia onions represent about 40 percent of the sweet onion market in the country and are sold in every state. Visit vidaliaonion.org for more information about Vidalia onions, and follow the season’s news on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.