Vidalia® Onion Shipping Date Set for April 15th
Georgia Agriculture Commissioner, Gary W. Black, today announced the official “Shipping Date” for the 2013 Vidalia® Onion Marketing Season is April 15, 2013.
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 ONLY be shipped prior to April 15th 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 may also 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.”
Most in the industry are still reeling from the 2012 crop, where growers say historically higher-than-normal temperatures during the growing season spurred smaller sizes and the onset of a particularly virulent strain of downy mildew; the combination of which resulted in roughly one-third reductions in marketable yields. Storage facilities last season remained largely un-filled, which resulted in a shortened season.
Vidalia® growers feel generally upbeat and optimistic regarding this upcoming crop. Most are reporting great stands, uniform growth and a general low-incidence of plant disease – all pointing to a great crop. Conversely, many are concerned about the recent (and forecasted) cooler-than-normal temperatures. The expectation now is this will slow maturity and the onset of harvest to the point, many believe, that few quality supplies will be available much before April 15. Georgia Vidalia® onion growers plan to harvest more than 12,000 acres of Vidalia® onions in 2013.
Vidalia® onions are unique to Georgia and 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.
About the GDA
The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) is the voice of the state’s agriculture community. The department's mission is to provide excellence in services and regulatory functions, to protect and promote agriculture and consumer interests, and to ensure an abundance of safe food and fiber for Georgia, America, and the world by using state-of-the-art technology and a professional workforce. For more information, visit, www.agr.georgia.gov.
About Georgia Grown
The Department of Agriculture’s Georgia Grown program provides a powerful branding tool as well as education, marketing and business connections to expand agribusinesses and the agricultural industry throughout the state. Learn more or join Georgia Grown at www.georgiagrown.com.
For more information, please contact: Mary.Yearta@agr.georgia.gov or Jenna.Saxon@agr.georgia.gov , Georgia Department of Agriculture Press Office.