ORLANDO, Fla. - Bob Stafford, manager of the Vidalia, Ga.-based Vidalia Onion Committee, says Vidalia sweet onions capture about 40% of the sweet onion category but the industry wants more.
Last year, the Vidalia Onion Committee introduced the new brand mark and marketing campaign “Only Vidalia” to reflect the unique approach to growing Vidalia onions.
With acreage of about 12,000 acres annually and typical production of 5 million to 7 million 40-pound cartons, Vidalia marketed about 5 million cartons in 2018, he says. Typically about half the crop is sold fresh and the other half is stored and sold as late as Labor Day.
Sweet onions are a labor-intensive crop, and one of the current initiatives is to look at mechanical “plant tape” to supplement hand planting of onions, he says.
The industry, with $150 million in annual sales, works with new varieties developed by the University of Georgia’s Vidalia Onion and Vegetable Research Center to maximize flavor and shelf life, he says.