In Season: Vidalia Onions by Toby Amidor in Healthy Recipes, In Season, May 6, 2012
Vidalia onions, the official state vegetable of Georgia, are only available for a limited time. Get your hands on these sweet onions while they’re in season!
What, Where & When?
During the Great Depression, farmers were looking for a new cash-crop. They were pleasantly surprised when a strange, sweet onion, grown near Vidalia, Georgia, became an instant moneymaker. Word spread of “those sweet onions from Vidalia” and that’s how the name was born.
Over time, the Vidalia onion began to gain national fame. In 1978 Vidalia onions had their own annual festival in Vidalia, Georgia where it is still celebrated today. In 1990, the Vidalia onion became the official state vegetable of Georgia and the name “Vidalia” is trademarked and owned by the Georgia Department of Agriculture. In order to be called a Vidalia onion, it must be produced in one of 13 counties and portions of 7 others, all in Georgia.
Vidalia onions are grown in low-sulfur soils that prevent bulbs from developing a pungent taste. (It’s the sulfur that makes you cry when you slice an onion.) Since Vidalias contain fewer sulfur compounds, you’ll tear less when you slice them.
Today, Vidalia onions are available in 50 states and most of Canada. They’re available from late April through August.