The official "shipping date" for the 2012 Vidalia Onion Marketing Season is April 12, said Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary W. Black.
The shipping date is based on the recommendation of the Vidalia Onion Advisory Panel under the authority of the law, rules and regulations applicable to Vidalia onions.
Vidalia onions may be shipped prior to April 12 only if each and every load being shipped has a federal-state inspection certificate stating the onions have met the established grade requirements and are under "Positive Lot Identification" as approved by the Federal-State Inspection Service. "Baby" Vidalia onions with greens attached also may be shipped earlier in the season.
"The Federal-State Inspection assures the quality of the onions and that they have matured to meet the marketing standards," Commissioner Black said. "Onions that are harvested and shipped too early and do not meet the grade requirements can damage the reputation of this important crop."
The value of production of Georgia’s 2011 Vidalia onion crop was approximately $92 million.
Vidalia onions are unique to Georgia. They may only be grown in parts of a 20-county area in the southeastern part of the state. The onions are prized for their sweetness and lack of heat and are used raw or cooked.