Vidalia onions shipping early

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 8:02 AM
Last updated 8:04 AM
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Vidalia onions will be hitting the road April 12, nearly a week earlier than last year, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary W. Black said Monday.

Any onions shipped earlier must undergo inspection and bear a Federal-State Inspection Certificate stating the onions have met grade and other requirements. Baby onions, with their green spears attached, may also be shipped earlier.

“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 2011 crop was worth about $92 million, Black’s office said.

The official shipping date is based on the recommendation of the Vidalia Onion Advisory Panel and the many rules and regulations that apply to the onions. The onions may be grown only in a 20-county area of southeast Georgia.

It is the second time in as many years that the shipping date has been moved up. In 2010, the official shipping date was April 27.

Onions aren’t the only things moving earlier. Agriculture officials said many fruit crops bloomed earlier because of the unusually mild winter.

Any onions shipped earlier must undergo inspection and bear a Federal-State Inspection Certificate stating the onions have met grade and other requirements. Baby onions, with their green spears attached, may also be shipped earlier.

“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 2011 crop was worth about $92 million, Black’s office said.

The official shipping date is based on the recommendation of the Vidalia Onion Advisory Panel and the many rules and regulations that apply to the onions. The onions may be grown only in a 20-county area of southeast Georgia.

It is the second time in as many years that the shipping date has been moved up. In 2010, the official shipping date was April 27.

Onions aren’t the only things moving earlier. Agriculture officials said many fruit crops bloomed earlier because of the unusually mild winter.

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