Vidalia Onion Committee Showcases New Look, Seasonal Highlights at PMA Fresh Summit
ORLANDO, FL - After an unusual start to the Vidalia onion growing season, farmers bounced back and sold more than 5 million 40-pound units during the 2018 season, the Vidalia Onion Committee (VOC) announced at the annual Produce Marketing Association (PMA) conference held Oct. 19-20, 2018 in Orlando, Florida.
“We’re pleased to have had another season of success and high-quality onions to make available to consumers, who have enjoyed the taste of Vidalia onions for more than 80 years,” said Bob Stafford, the VOC’s manager. “Despite experiencing snow and freezing weather on our young plants at the start of the season, most of our growers recovered with only a slight stand loss and sold more than 5 million 40-pound units of onions this year.”
Moving into the 2019 growing season, Stafford expects growers to see an increased demand for Vidalia onions’ unique flavor profile among consumers and more stable wholesale pricing as a result of ongoing research into improved growing methods and varieties.
“We’re always exploring new research projects to improve our growers’ operations,” Stafford said. “One of our current research initiatives is looking to use mechanical ‘plant tape’ to supplement hand planting.”
Vidalia onions have been planted, harvested, and cured by hand for more than 80 years. This new research could revolutionize the growing process, making it easier for farmers and their employees. After promising results in several test acres this season, the VOC will continue to look into this process as another potential innovation to roll out to farmers in the future.
The committee also continuously works with new varieties at the Vidalia Onion and Vegetable Research Center, seeking to provide consumers with an even better tasting onion with increased shelf life.
The VOC will showcase this premium taste and share additional insights and results from the season at PMA Fresh Summit from Booth 1301 in the Georgia Grown Pavilion. Attendees will experience the new look and feel of the committee, launched in 2017 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Vidalia trademark. Last year, the VOC debuted the new brand mark and marketing campaign, “Only Vidalia,” to reflect the artisanal approach to growing Vidalia onions that farmers have perfected over time and to remind people that Vidaliaonions have the sweet, mild flavor profile that has made it an essential ingredient for a wide range of dishes.
The state of Georgia passed the Vidalia Onion Act in 1986 but did not become the official owner of the Vidalia trademark until 1992. The annual crop, which experienced one of its best harvests in recent years this season, is produced by approximately 60 registered growers in 20 South Georgia counties and is available in the spring and summer.
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.
Stop by Booth 1301 at the PMA Fresh Summit International Convention and Expo October 19-20 to learn more about the Vidalia Onion Committee, highlights from the season and vision for the future. Visit vidaliaonion.org for more information about Vidalia onions, and follow the season’s news on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.