VIDALIA, Ga. — Ready, set, gone!! The 2018 crop of Vidalia onions began shipping today to the delight of the world’s best chefs and home cooks, who adore the legendary onions for their sweet, distinctive flavor.
“I look forward to stocking up on a fresh supply of onions during Vidalia season every year,” said Chef Kevin Gillespie, renowned chef and owner of the beloved Atlanta restaurants Gunshow and Revival. “Thanks to their versatility and ability to add the perfect flavor to a wide variety of recipes, Vidalias are the only sweet onions I use in my restaurants.”
Cultivated only in 20 southeastern Georgia counties by 80 farmers and available in the spring and summer months, growers report another strong harvest for the crop this season.
“This season’s harvest ensures consumers will have an abundance of Vidalia onions to add to their favorite foods,” said Troy Bland, chairman of the Vidalia Onion Committee (VOC), which oversees the marketing of the hand-planted and hand-harvested vegetable. In 2017, Georgia growers harvested nearly 230 million pounds of Vidalia onions with a value of more than $150 million.
Bland noted that the VOC will expand its “Only Vidalia” marketing campaign launched last year to remind people of the Vidalia onion’s sweet, mild flavor profile that is an essential ingredient for a wide range of dishes including salads, dressings and even desserts.
“We are very pleased with the ‘Only Vidalia’ campaign, which will feature advertising aimed at consumers and grocery retailers, an expanded social media outreach, blogger partnerships and a host of other activities during the season,” Bland said.
As part of this year’s campaign, VOC is working with Chef Gillespie to help promote the vegetable to aspiring chefs, home cooks and professionals alike.
Last year, the VOC celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Vidalia trademark, which is owned by the state of Georgia. Vidalia onions are Georgia’s official state vegetable and represent about 40 percent of the national sweet onion market.
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.
SOURCE Vidalia® Onion Committee
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