It’s just about that time – Vidalia onion season in southeast Georgia!
2020, despite everything else, yielded a great Vidalia onion season and growers say 2021 is slated to be even better.
John Shuman of Shuman Farms in Reidsville recently told Fresh Plaza publication that a recent poll predicted approximately 10,000 acres across the region, up roughly 400 acres from 2020.
The total acreage of Vidalia onions has not yet been officially reported to the state Department of Agriculture. Last year, 60 registered growers in 20 southeast Georgia counties hand-cultivated the onions we saw in stores across the country.
“The industry has had unusually cool weather and there’s been a lot of rain. The cool weather has helped with that though because it’s kept disease pressure off of the crop,” Shuman told the publication.
But the cool weather doesn’t always help. In fact, this year, it has slowed the Vidalia onion crop some. The University of Georgia has reported that crops only have half of the heat units they reported at the same time in the season in 2020. That means the onion harvest and ship date will likely be later in 2021.
The Georgia Department of Agriculture will set the ship date for onion growers after a vote by the Vidalia Onion Committee since the state owns the patent to the trademarked ‘Vidalia Onion.’ The date follows polls of growers and a number of inspections of soil and weather conditions to ensure quality control, but usually falls around mid to late April.
Vidalia onions represent about 40 percent of the sweet onion market in the country and are sold in every state.