Two Vidalia Sweet Onions in the Field being HarvestedThe Vidalia Onion is a Georgia-grown yellow granex hybrid known for it’s sweet, mild flavor. Vidalias were first grown in Toombs County, Georgia. Click Here to Order Onions On-line).
Vidalia Onions have developed an international reputation as the “world’s sweetest onion.” Their mild flavor is due to the unique combination of soils and climate found in the 20 county production area.
Through Federal regulation, the Vidalia Onion growers developed Federal Marketing Order No. 955 in 1989 in an effort to fund research projects and to promote the consumption of Vidalia Onions.
The marketing order program covers onions produced in in the following counties in Southeast Georgia: Appling, Bacon, Jeff Davis, Montgomery, Tattnall, Telfair, Toombs, Treutlen and Wheeler, as well as portions of Dodge, Jenkins, Laurens, Long, Pierce, Screven and Wayne.
Approximately 225 growers cultivate Vidalia Onions on over 14,000 acres. About 125 handlers are involved in the grading, packing and distribution of Vidalias.
Vidalia Sweet Onions in Field Bags being Harvested and ready for DryingAn average of 300 50-pound bags of Vidalias are produced per acre. Approximately 6% of the 275 growers cultivate 100 acres or more; 7% produce on 50 to 100 acres, 40% on 10 to 15 acre, and 47 % on 10 or fewer acres. The majority of Vidalia Onion farms are multi-generational, family owned-and-operated businesses.
The industry’s annual Vidalia Onion harvest brings some $50 million directly into Georgia’s economy. The economic impact from related downstream marketing activities is estimated at $145-150 million.
Harvested onions in field bags ready for drying
Vidalia Onions are sold loose by the pound, in 2, 3 and 5 pound “pre-packs,” and in 10, 25 and 50 pound mesh bags and boxes.
Generally recognized Vidalia Onion sizes are small (1 to 2 1/4 inches), medium (2 to 3 inches), and jumbo (over 3 inches).
About 70% of the Vidalia crop is distributed through grocery stores as a specialty item. The remaining 30% are distributed through roadside stands and mail order businesses.
Vidalia Onions are harvested from late April through mid-June. Due to the introduction of controlled atmosphere (CA) storage, stored Vidalia Onions are available through December.
In 1990, a resolution was passed by the Georgia legislature declaring the Vidalia Onion as Georgia’s Official State Vegetable.