The Vidalia Onion is a popular and versatile culinary delight known for its mild flavor and limited growing region. When it comes to the Vidalia Onion, the Vidalia Convention & Visitors Bureau understands and loves this internationally acclaimed vegetable named after the city of Vidalia, Georgia. With its interesting history and sweet taste, this vegetable deserves to be celebrated.
Things You Didn’t Know About Vidalia Onions
In the early 1920’s during the Great Depression, local farmers were encouraged by local vocational teachers to try planting onions for another cash crop. Depending on the seed or sets, onions planted in the sandy loamy soil in the area produced a mild or sweet onion. The Vidalia Onion is now grown from a yellow Granex hybrid seed developed to produces the sweet-flavored, flat-shaped onion.
The Vidalia Onion made its retail debut at Piggly Wiggly Southern stores in the southeast, whose corporate headquarters were in Vidalia, so it began to make its way into other regions quickly. Because of its uniquely mild, sweet taste, it can command a higher price than similar yellow onions. In 1990, the Vidalia Onion was designated as Georgia’s official state vegetable.
Which Onions Can Be Called a Vidalia Onion?
Vidalia Onions may share some similarities with yellow onions and other sweet onion varieties, but several distinctions set this delicious vegetable apart.
First and foremost, The Vidalia Onion Act of 1986 ensures that these onions can only be designated as a Vidalia if they are grown in one of 20 specific counties in Georgia. They can be grown elsewhere, but they cannot be marketed as Vidalias. The distinct weather, seed, and soil content is what helps give the Vidalia its signature taste. The sweet flavor is due to the low amount of sulfur found in the soil of the Vidalia region where they are grown, and they have a higher sugar and water content.
They also come from a particular seed variety that is tested for at least three years at the University of Georgia Vidalia Onion and Vegetable Research Center to ensure it meets quality standards. You can find Vidalias in season from approximately late April through Labor Day and will recognize it by its flat shape and golden brown exterior skin.
Where to Visit While in Vidalia to Learn More & Celebrate the Vidalia Onion?
Celebrating the unique Vidalia Onion is easy when you visit the city of Vidalia. Make your first stop at The Vidalia Onion Museum and Welcome Center to discover the sweet Vidalia Onion’s entire history and cultural significance. From its history to its economic impact, numerous educational exhibits are designed to delight visitors of all ages.
The Vidalia Onion Fountain, located at the Ronnie A. Dixon City Park, is a local landmark, a stunning work of art, and an excellent place for a photo op! Visitors can also enjoy the multi-colored dancing lights at night.
Experience the Annual Vidalia Onion Festival in The City of Vidalia
There is no better way to celebrate the beloved onion than to visit The Vidalia Onion Festival in late April. Since 1977, Vidalia has spent a week each spring anticipating the Vidalia Onion harvest. All over Vidalia, there are various culinary events, pageants, a carnival, an Onion Run, arts & crafts, a street dance, fireworks, concerts, and so much more to enjoy.
Visit The City of Vidalia and Discover Georgia’s State Vegetable
When you visit the City of Vidalia, Georgia, you will discover more than just what there is to love about the world-famous Vidalia Onion. Full of farm stands with carefully grown local produce, a rich history, and exciting outdoor recreational opportunities, Vidalia offers a variety of diverse and engaging activities for visitors of all ages. The Vidalia Convention & Visitors Bureau will be happy to direct you toward the best attractions, restaurants, shopping, and local events.
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