Vidalia onions will soon be popping up on menus across Georgia. While chefs routinely use the famous Vidalia onions raw or cooked in a variety of dishes from salads to desserts, a new icon makes it easier than ever for restaurant consumers to identify dishes that feature Georgia’s most exclusive and internationally renowned agricultural treasure. The black and white image consists of the outline of an onion surrounding the letters VO.
The new image, akin to a heart icon signaling low-cholesterol dining options, is made available by the Vidalia Onion Committee and Georgia Department of Agriculture to restaurateurs who “Take the Vidalia Onion Pledge” on the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) website. The roster of all participating restaurants will be published by the GRA and also shared with Georgia Tourism, which will promote those restaurants as part of culinary- and agri- tourism initiatives.
By taking the pledge, restaurateurs agree to only label onions as Vidalia onions when they are authentic Vidalia onions and no other type of onion. Taking the pledge does not prohibit use of any other onion varietals at the restaurant, only that an onion will never be labeled (with words and/or icon) as a Vidalia onion if it is not.
“Our farmers work extremely hard year-round to produce Vidalia sweet onions for harvest in spring and summer,” says Wendy Brannen, executive director of the Vidalia® Onion Committee. “We love this program because this unique agricultural product indigenous only to Southeast Georgia is clearly identified as being special.”
“The icon draws attention to Vidalia onions and the creative ways chefs work with this Georgia Grown product,” says Karen Bremer, executive director of the GRA. “Whether diners are curious about Vidalia onions or already avid fans, the image gives subtle visual encouragement to try these dishes while creating a pathway to support local, seasonal foods when dining out. And by compelling consumers to sample these dishes, we can support local farmers and generate more revenue for our state, which will create more jobs. It’s a win-win.”