Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Announces Official Pack Date for 2019
Get those taste buds ready, Vidalia onion lovers, because America’s favorite sweet onion will soon be on the way. The Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Vidalia Onion Committee announced that the pack date for the 2019 Vidalia season is Monday, April 22.
“With tremendous consideration after consultation with the Vidalia Advisory Panel, industry experts from the University of Georgia and crop assessments from the Georgia Federal State Inspection Service, I am pleased to announce April 22 as this year’s pack date for the official state vegetable of Georgia, the Vidalia onion,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. “For more than two decades, Georgia’s Vidalia onion trademark has garnered global recognition, reaffirming our trust in the Vidalia onions being among the highest-quality in the food industry.”
The annual Vidalia onion pack date is a rite of spring for fans of the vegetable because it is only available for a limited amount of time each year. The unique onion, adored by cooks for its sweet, mild flavor, is hand-cultivated in 20 southeastern Georgia counties by 80 registered growers.
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 to help ensure only the highest-quality onions are shipped to stores across the country. In 2018, 9,356.26 acres of Vidalia onions were hand-planted to be harvested in the forthcoming weeks, according to Troy Bland, chairman of the Vidalia Onion Committee.
This year, the Vidalia Onion Committee is launching “The Sweet Life,” a new marketing campaign to reach home cooks across the country. The campaign targets grocery shoppers who enjoy cooking and entertaining.
“The Sweet Life builds on our very successful marketing effort over the last two years that helped to raise the profile of the Vidalia onion among food connoisseurs, particularly millennials who set many of today’s consumer trends,” said Bland. “Now we plan to focus on a broader category of consumers who like to cook, entertain and use onions. The goal is to elevate the brand as a signifier of good taste and living well.”
Vidalia onions represent about 40 percent of the sweet onion market in the country and are sold in every state. The Vidalia trademark is owned by the state of Georgia because of the Vidalia Onion Act of 1986. To be considered a Vidalia onion, the vegetables must be cultivated in the South Georgia soil from a distinctive 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.
More information about Vidalia onions can be found at vidaliaonion.org, and updates on this season’s news will be shared on the Vidalia Onion Committee’sFacebook, Twitter,Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube accounts.
How to make Uncle Wilson’s Baked Vidalias®
Kick off Vidalia onion season with Trisha Yearwood’s recipe – Uncle Wilson’s Baked Vidalias®! Only Vidalia onions can bring this sweet treat (wrapped in bacon) to life. See below for the recipe or visit this website.
6 Large Sweet Vidalia® Onions
12 Strips of Bacon
2 Tablespoons of Butter
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Peel and wash onions. With point of a small, sharp knife, cut 1-inch core from the top of onions.
Wrap 2 slices of bacon around onions, secure it with toothpicks, and put 1 teaspoon butter in cores.
Place onions on a square of aluminum foil and bring the edges loosely together at the top.
Put the foil-wrapped onions in a large pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the onions are tender.
Cool the onions for a few minutes before serving.