The Georgia Department of Agriculture has chosen April 22 as the official pack date of the famous Vidalia onions.
The onion industry, through the Vidalia Onion Advisory Panel, work with state agricultural scientists and the state department of agriculture each year to determine the season’s official pack date. There are 9,356 acres of the onions in this year’s harvest, Troy Bland, chairman of the Vidalia Onion Committee, said in a release from the state agriculture department.
Although Gary Black, the Georgia agriculture commissioner, has the ability to change the date, state regulations put the official date as the Monday of the last full week in April, which is April 22.
Last year marked the 25th anniversary of the Vidalia onion trademark.
“With tremendous consideration after consultation with the Vidalia Advisory Panel, industry experts from the University of Georgia and crop assessments from the Georgia Federal State Inspection Service, I am pleased to announce April 22 as this year’s pack date for the official state vegetable of Georgia, the Vidalia onion,” Black said in the release. “For more than two decades, Georgia’s Vidalia onion trademark has garnered global recognition, reaffirming our trust in the Vidalia onions being among the highest-quality in the food industry.”
The Vidalia Onion Committee, which oversees a marketing order for the onion, is launching a new marketing campaign, “The Sweet Life.” It targets 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,” Bland said in the release. “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.”
Onions grown in the 20 southeastern Georgia counties approved in the Vidalia marketing order can be marketed before the official start date, but only as Georgia sweet onions, not Vidalias.
In the past four years the start dates were April 20, April 12, April 25 and April 27.