The packing date for the 2019 Vidalia onion season is set for 8 a.m. on Monday, April 22, according to The Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Vidalia Onion Committee.
Five to 6 million cartons are expected to be shipped this season.
Vidalia onion acreage in 2019 will hit a 10-year low, according to Bland Farms LLC of Glennville, GA. The least amount of acreage planted during the past 10 years was 10,500 acres — at least until this season when 9,262 have been planted. Last year 11,251 acres were planted.
Vidalia onions represent about 40 percent of the sweet onions shipped in the U.S. each season.
Vidalia onions are grown in parts of 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 avoid early season onions being picked before maturity and tend to have a high pungency, or hot taste. Onions shipped prior to April 22nd cannot legally be shipped as Vidalia onions.
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.”
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.