Vidalia Onion Committee Showed National Food Bloggers How Vidalia Onions are Grown and Harvested From Field to Plate
April 30, 2014
Vidalia, GA (May 1, 2014): To celebrate the start of the 2014 season and their new “V is for Vidalia” consumer campaign, The Vidalia Onion Committee hosted a field tour for food bloggers and media on April 25-27, 2014. The tour provided a first-hand look at how and where Vidalia onions are grown along with one-on-one conversations with farmers. During the weekend event, participants were also treated to a wide variety of specially prepared meals from local chefs featuring the versatility and flavor of Vidalia onions.
A total of 11 national food bloggers and key media explored the onion fields and viewed how Vidalias are harvested by hand. A tour of the packing facility showcased how these sweet onions are carefully handled, graded and packaged ensuring quality and food safety. Commissioner Gary Black of the Georgia Department of Agriculture joined the tour and spoke about the benefits of the Georgia-grown initiative in promoting Georgia’s locally grown products.
“Showcasing the entire farm to fork experience gave these individuals a real sense of not only how and where Vidalia onions are grown but more importantly what makes them so special,” stated Susan Waters Executive Director of the Vidalia Onion Committee. “The farmers enjoyed sharing their passion for growing Vidalia onions, their dedication to food safety and quality and the history of their family farms which is multi-generational.”
The tour luncheon was hosted by Applebee’s and Michael Slavin, Executive Chef of Product Development for Applebee’s, introduced and prepared a new menu item that will launch in all U.S. restaurants starting May 5. The Grilled Vidalia Onion Sirloin – a tender 7 oz. sirloin, grilled to order and topped with a grilled and caramelized slice of sweet Vidalia onion, with garlicky spinach and smashed and crisped red-skinned potatoes in a warm, sweet and spicy Hawaiian BBQ sauce – is the star of Applebee’s new summer menu, The Season’s Best Flavors.
The tour coincided with the 37th annual Vidalia Onion Festival and participants attended several events including the Golden Onion professional cooking competition which provided a platform for 12 Georgia Chefs to display their skills and creativity.
Waters continued, “With a changing media marketplace, one of the objectives of the ‘V is for Vidalia’ campaign is to create more social experiences online and working with food bloggers provides an effective grassroots effort in sharing recipes and tips with consumers all season long.”
To that end The Vidalia Onion Committee is also engaging food bloggers with the “V Culinary Challenge.” Starting April 21 through June 10, bloggers will be invited to submit their own recipes online at Facebook.com/VidaliaOnions and starting May 1 through August 4, consumers will be invited to vote for their favorites. The grand prize winner will receive a cash prize of $2,500 and their bio, blog and recipe will be featured on the VOC’s web site. Two runner-up winners will each receive a cash prize of $500.
To reward consumers who frequent the Vidalia Onion Facebook page, the VOC will be featuring a coupon for $.50 off 5 pounds or more of bagged or bulk Vidalia onions. During the month of May, the committee will host a weekly trivia contest on Facebook and consumers will have the opportunity to win a basket of Vidalia onions along with other items.
For more information, visit Facebook.com/VidaliaOnions. For recipes and tips, visit VidaliaOnion.org.
About Vidalia® Onions Vidalia® onions are the pioneer of sweet onions and Georgia’s official state vegetable. Grown only in the mild climate and unique soil surrounding Vidalia, Ga., they’re loved by chefs and home cooks throughout the world. Vidalia® onions are hand planted and hand harvested each year, with sweet, juicy bulbs available seasonally from late
April to late August. Vidalia® onions, with their mild, sweet taste, are versatile and can be used in a variety of amazing recipes. These Georgia sweeties are also a low-fat, low-cholesterol and sodium-free way to get a healthy dose of Vitamin C! For more information, visit VidaliaOnion.org.
About the Vidalia® Onion Committee
Because Vidalia® onions are sweetly unique, farmers united to seek legal protection for their crop and its name. Federal Marketing Order No. 955 was established in 1989, to stipulate where the crop can be grown and help with research and promotion of Vidalia® onions. The Vidalia® Onion Committee administers FMO No. 955 and authorizes production research, marketing research and development and marketing promotion programs. This federal program along with Georgia state laws that protect the Vidalia® trademark have provided a legal framework for the industry. So, you can try to grow a sweet onion elsewhere, but you cannot call it a “Vidalia®,” unless it is from Georgia! For more information, visit VidaliaOnion.org.
"The only thing better than the onions in Vidalia is the people. They’re great cooks, and friendly."- Chef Bobby Flay, "Postcard from Vidalia, Georgia" Bobby Flay Cooks American