(April 25, PACKER WEB EXCLUSIVE) National Vidalia Onion Month will start with some national exposure. Chef Art Ginsburg will feature Vidalia onions during his syndicated Mr. Food segment on May 2.

“He’s a big fan of Vidalias,” said Wendy Brannen, executive director of the Vidalia Onion Committee, Vidalia, Ga. “His people actually contacted me about the segment, and we’re just thrilled.”

Mr. Food is broadcast in about 150 television markets and has an audience of about 6 million, Brannen said.

“It’s fantastic exposure,” she said. “We haven’t worked with him before, but he certainly knows our product.”

Ginsburg will tell viewers about sweet Vidalia pie during his May 2 broadcast. That recipe — which includes Vidalia onions, bacon, tomatoes and cheese — placed second in last year’s Vidalia Onion Festival cook-off. The 90-second segment actually was taped last July. Its broadcast will coincide with increasing volumes from Vidalia.

Brannen said the shipping season officially started April 17.

“May and June is when we have very strong movement from the fresh market,” she said. “Then we ship from controlled-atmosphere storage from July into mid-September.”

For more information go to www.vidaliaonion.org or www.mrfood.com.