There’s a piece in the NYT about vidalias (say it with me: vy-DALE-yuh) — not exactly about how terrific, tear-duct friendly, life-affirming, helloooo-spring-is-finally-here! they are. It’s about how farmers in Vidalia took the State of Georgia to court last year as to when they can begin shipping (it’s not the farmers who decide the initial shipping date (!!)):
Armed with letters from grocery store executives who had complained about early-crop onions that went bad too quickly or didn’t taste all that sweet, the Georgia agriculture commissioner, Gary Black, pushed back. There would be no early shipments.
In March, a Fulton County Superior Court judge agreed with the growers. Mr. Black, the judge said, was exceeding his legal authority. Now Mr. Black, citing his responsibility to protect the Vidalia trademark, has vowed to appeal.
So until the case is settled, the nation will not get its first Vidalia onions any earlier than April 21.
Georgia Public Radio did a piece several about the vidalia, including one of the farmers who explained that you really want to buy the squattiest onion you can get:
“When the tops stand firm, there’s a tremendous amount of life in the stem. But when they’re browned a little bit on the tops, the onions are really beginning to grow so they’re sucking the nutrients out of the top of the quills,” said Walt Dasher, owner of G and R Farms in Glennville, Georgia.
According to Dasher, when at least fifty percent of the tops of the plant are collapsed, the onions are ready to pick.
Although onions can look very similar to the typical consumer, you don’t need to be an expert to pick out a Vidalia.
“You can tell strictly by its shape. All of the Vidalias are of the Granex variety. The X in Granex means flat. The flatter the onion, typically the sweeter it is. On the other hand, the deeper the onion, the hotter it is,” said Dasher.
1015s from Texas ship earlier than the Vidalia. Me, I’m a vidalia girl, and I’ll wait. Maybe it makes the heart and the tummy grow fonder. Why, last year I was so tickled about them showing up at Whole Foods, I posted this pic on FB with the caption, ‘Hallelujah!’.