By Clint Thompson
Georgia’s Vidalia onion producers are getting closer to harvesting this year’s crop. Cliff Riner, Vidalia Onion Committee chairman, discussed the expected timeframe growers have in preparing to pick this year’s onions.
“Most everything’s going to be the end of March and first of April to start. We’ll probably see a slight gap after the very first ones for three or four days until maybe the 5th or 7th of April. Then everything will be pretty steady at that point,” Riner said. “I just got through looking at the first couple of fields and they’re definitely still growing. We’ve had a little cooler weather and that’s slowed the pace down a little bit, and that’s normal.
“We see this cool snap come and go in March every year. They’re getting ready. It’s that time of year, and we’ve got to start getting all of the equipment prepared to be ready for harvest and bring everything in.”
As in most harvest years, weather and the probability of rainfall in the spring, will determine growers’ intentions on digging and harvesting the crop.
“It was very similar to what we did last year. You’re talking an early versus a normal year of three days difference. Weather dictates a lot of that,” Riner said. “If we’re intending to dig a field, let’s just say April 2, and then April 3 there’s a 100% chance of rain, we’d liable to dig before that. The weather will still play a role until the end and change our plans one way or the other.”
Official Pack Date
The official pack date for the 2023 Vidalia onion season has been designated as April 17. It was announced by Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper, in coordination with the Vidalia Onion Committee.
“I’m pleased to announce, in coordination with the Vidalia Onion Committee, April 17, 2023, as the official pack date of the 2023 Vidalia onion season,” Harper said. “It’s an exciting time for farmers and producers in our state and for consumers across the country as we look forward to enjoying the sweet onion once again. The Vidalia onion has become a sought-after ingredient by professional chefs and home cooks alike, and we’re proud to grow them right here in Georgia.”
Vidalia onions are available for a limited time each year, between April through early September.