Vidalia the Sweetest of all Onions Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of its Trademark
Vidalia® onion growers launched the 2017 season April 12 of this sweetest of onions, marking the 25th anniversary of the Vidalia onion trademark.
Grown in unique soil and climate conditions found only in 20 South Georgia counties, Vidalia onions – now officially available for retail distribution – are revered by some of the world’s best chefs and home cooks for its sweet, distinctive flavor. The annual crop is produced by 100 registered growers and is available in the spring and summer months, but the first date they can be shipped is determined by the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
“We are excited every year when we are able to start shipping our hand-planted and hand-harvested Vidalias,” said Troy Bland, chairman of the Vidalia Onion Committee (VOC). “However, this year is special because we are celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Vidalia onion trademark that has assured people across the country that they are enjoying the one and only original sweet onion.”
The state of Georgia passed the Vidalia Onion Act in 1986, but did not become the official owner of the Vidalia trademark until 1992. In addition to celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the trademark, the VOC also announced a new marketing campaign, “Only Vidalia.” The campaign highlights the provenance of the Vidalia onion that has been hand crafted by grower artisans for more than 80 years in Georgia. It reminds people that only Vidalia onions have the sweet, mild flavor profile that has made it an essential ingredient for wide range of dishes including salads, dressings and even desserts.
The “Only Vidalia” campaign will feature advertising aimed at consumers and grocery retailers; social media content and blogger partnerships – all inviting people to rediscover the original sweet onion.
Vidalia onions are Georgia’s official state vegetable, grown on 12,000 acres annually and represent about 40 percent of the sweet onion market. Sold in every state, the annual value of the crop is about $150 million.(1)
Here are a couple of recipes using these sweet onions:
Buben Vidalia Onion Apple Tart
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 medium Vidalia onion
- 2 medium Granny Smith apples
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cup almond flour
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
- 6 egg whites
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Cook over medium heat until it develops a caramel consistency (approximately 355 degrees on a candy thermometer). Carefully pour the hot caramel into the bottom of a 10 inch cake pan and let it cool.
Slice the Vidalia onion and the apple thinly with a knife, then layer in the bottom of the cake pan with the caramel.
In a saut’e pan, cook the butter over medium heat until it is foamy and has a nut-brown color. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and egg whites with a whisk. Add the almond flour and all-purpose flour and gently fold together. Slowly add the melted, foamy butter and mix until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter over the apples and Vidalia onions.
Bake at 350 in oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool, then invert to un-mold. Cut into 6 equal wedges and serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Makes 6 servings
Recipe Courtesy of Jeffrey Buben of Vidalia Restaurant on behalf of the Vidalia Onion Committee
Hawaiian Coconut Crusted Vidalia® Onion Rings with tamari-ginger dipping sauce
For a main dish variation, try these sweet crunchy onion rings and the tangy sauce with roast pork tenderloin or grilled salmon.
- Basic Batter:
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup milk
- Coconut Crust:
- ¼ cup ground macadamia nuts
- ¼ cup ground almonds
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut
- Oil for frying
- 1 large Vidalia® onion
- Tamari-Ginger Dipping Sauce:
- ¼ cup chopped Vidalia® onion
- ¼ cup apple juice
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon finely grated, peeled fresh gingerroot
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Prepare the Tamari-Ginger Dipping Sauce; set aside.
Make the Basic Batter: Mix the flour, salt, and pepper in a medium size bowl. Add the eggs and milk, whisking gently until a smooth thick batter forms.
To make the Coconut Crust, stir the macadamia nuts, almonds, and ginger into the batter. In a shallow bowl, combine the sesame seeds and coconut.
In a large heavy skillet, pour the oil to a depth of ¾ inch and heat to 375°F. Peel the Vidalia onion and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices; separate the slices into individual rings. (Reserve the onion centers for another use.) Dip an onion ring into the batter, coating thickly, then dredge in the sesame/coconut mixture. Lay the onion ring gently in the hot oil and cook until underside is dark golden—about 2 minutes; turn and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer. Remove and drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a 200°F oven.
Repeat with remaining rings. Cook 2 to 3 rings at a time depending on the size of your skillet, taking care not to crowd the pan or let the temperature drop too much, which will result in greasy rings. Serve warm with Tamari-Ginger Dipping Sauce.
For the dipping sauce:
In a food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients and process until the onion is finely chopped. Makes 2/3 cup
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.
(1) According to findings from the Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development – University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ 2014 Farm Gate Value Report published in September 2015.