Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Announces Official Pack Date for 2019
ATLANTA, March 18, 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 idalia Onion Committee announced today that the pack date for the 2019 Vidalia Onion® season is 8 a.m. on 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 egistered 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 orthcoming 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 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 Vidalia Onion Committee’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube accounts.
About the Vidalia® Onion Committee
Because Vidalia® onions are sweetly unique, farmers united to seek legal protection for their crop and its name. Federal Marketing Order No. 955 was established in 1989, to stipulate where the crop can be grown and help with research and promotion of Vidalia onions. The Vidalia Onion Committee administers FMO No. 955 and authorizes production research, marketing research and development and marketing promotion programs. This federal program along with Georgia state laws that protect the Vidalia trademark have provided a legal framework for the industry. So, you can try to grow a sweet onion elsewhere, but you cannot call it a “Vidalia,” unless it is from Georgia! For more information, visit VidaliaOnion.org.
About the GDA
The Georgia Department of griculture (GDA) is the voice of the state’s agriculture community. The department’s mission is to provide excellence in services and regulatory functions, to protect and promote agriculture and consumer interests, and to ensure an abundance of safe food and fiber for Georgia, America, and the world by using state-of-the-art technology and a professional workforce. For more nformation, visit www.agr.georgia.gov.