What is a Vidalia Onion?

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In a nutshell, Vidalia Onions are a very mild, sweet onion that are grown in a specific territory in south Georgia (USA), comprised of 20 counties, centered around the city of Vidalia, GA and Toombs County. In order for farmers to grow & call sweet onions ‘Vidalia’, it’s required they be grown in this specific region, due to its unique blend of soil & nutrients that help produce their distinctive flavor. The Vidalia name is also protected through a federal marketing order, as well as a state law – making it illegal to grow & call a sweet onion a ‘Vidalia’ if it’s grown outside this area.

Vidalia Sweet Onions are actually a standard Yellow Granex variety. And they’re so mild they don’t make eyes tear up when cut open – making them a friendly choice for budding cooks & chefs.

Vidalia sweet onions love the sandy loam soil and mild conditions of the southeast Georgia growing region. Temperatures in this area average in the middle 50s during winter, and middle 70s in the spring, with an average monthly rainfall of 3.5 inches during the growing season. This temperature and rainfall combination is ideal for growing Vidalia Sweet Onions.

The growing cycle of Vidalia onions follows this rough outline:

  • Sept 1 : Seeds planted
  • Thanksgiving : Sprouts pulled & re-planted in alternate field
  • March 1 : Vidalia onion tops begin to break soil
  • April 10 : Harvest begins
  • Late April : Season begins
  • Late July : Season ends

Bin of Vidalia OnionsWhen these onions are ready for harvest, their delicate nature requires they be harvested by hand, thoroughly dried & cured, and treated gently during grading and packing.

The Vidalia season start changes every year, as it’s directly set by the farmers based on the readiness of the crop.

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