State and Federal Protection
Georgia Farmers Unite to Brand and Market Vidalia Onions
Realizing they had a unique, flavorful product, Georgia farmers united in the mid-1980’s to seek both state and federal protection of the growing region and the Vidalia brand name. The following legislation was passed during this historical time:
- 1986 – Georgia’s state legislature gave the Vidalia onion legal status and defined the 20-county production area.
- 1989 – Vidalia onion producers established Federal Marketing Order No. 955 for the crop. This USDA program created the Vidalia Onion Committee and extended the definition of a Vidalia onion to the federal level.
The Marketing Order provided a vehicle for producers to jointly fund research and promotional programs.
- 1990 – The Vidalia onion was named Georgia’s Official State Vegetable. The name “Vidalia” had also been trademarked and is still owned by the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
That same year, technology borrowed from the apple industry was adapted to begin the controlled atmosphere (CA) storage of Vidalia onions. Now, some 125 million pounds of Vidalia onions can be put into CA storage for up to 7 months, thus extending the marketing of Vidalias through the fall.
"The development and marketing of the Vidalia onion is one of the truly best culinary events of the last 50 years!"- Mr. M. Philbin. Clearwater, FL