Vidalia onion growers launched the 2017 season today, marking the 25th anniversary of the Vidalia onion trademark.
Grown in unique soil and climate conditions found only in 20 South Georgia counties, Vidalia onions – now officially available for retail distribution – are revered by chefs and home cooks for its sweet, distinctive flavor. The annual crop is produced by 100 registered growers and is available in the spring and summer months, but the first date they can be shipped is determined by the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
"We are excited every year when we are able to start shipping our hand-planted and hand-harvested Vidalias," says Troy Bland, chairman of the Vidalia Onion Committee (VOC). "However, this year is special because we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Vidalia onion trademark that has assured people across the country that they are enjoying the one and only original sweet onion."
The state of Georgia passed the Vidalia Onion Act in 1986, but did not become the official owner of the Vidalia trademark until 1992. In addition to celebrating the 25th anniversary of the trademark, the VOC also announced a new marketing campaign, "Only Vidalia." The campaign highlights the provenance of the Vidalia onion that has been hand crafted by grower artisans for more than 80 years in Georgia.
The "Only Vidalia" campaign will feature advertising aimed at consumers and grocery retailers; social media content and blogger partnerships – all inviting people to rediscover the original sweet onion.
Vidalia onions are Georgia's official state vegetable, grown on 12,000 acres annually and represent about 40 percent of the sweet onion market. Sold in every state, the annual value of the crop is about $150 million.