VIDALIA, Ga., May 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Vidalia onions are back in season and harvest officially kicked off on April 21(st), 2014. The original sweet onion will celebrate its retail debut with the new "V is for Vidalia" campaign that is going digital with increased social media efforts including a coupon and national food blogger contest on Facebook.
First discovered in the 1930's, Vidalia onions are the pioneer of sweet onions and Georgia's official state vegetable. Over the years, they have grown into a leading consumer brand bringing in around $140-million farm gate value to the state's economy annually and research reveals that over 90% of consumers are familiar with the Vidalia onion brand.
"Vidalia onions remain the most recognized onion brand in the market and we're excited to continue to share the message about the original sweet onion with the 'V is for Vidalia' campaign," remarked Susan Waters, Executive Director of the Vidalia Onion Committee. "Whether they are grilled, caramelized, sauteed or simply sliced raw, we want to remind consumers of the versatility and premium sweet flavor of Vidalia onions - not to mention that they are only grown in Georgia and available in the spring and summer months."
To launch the promotion and kick off the season in style, the Vidalia Onion Committee hosted a field tour for food bloggers and media on April 25-26, 2014. The field tour coincided with the 37th annual Vidalia Onion Festival; and allowed participants a behind the scenes look at the Vidalia onion industry, as well as provided one-on-one conversations with onion farmers. The bloggers shared their experience in real-time and consumers were able to follow along on social media at Facebook.com/VidaliaOnions, Twitter at #VisforVidalia and Instagram.com/vidaliaonioncommittee#.
"We were excited to invite food bloggers and media from around the country to tour the Vidalia onion fields and packaging facilities at the beginning of our season. Education is a powerful tool and sharing the entire farm to fork experience gave these individuals a real sense of how and where Vidalia onions are grown, and what makes them special," said Kevin Hendrix Chairman of the Board of Directors for the VOC.
With a changing media marketplace, the Vidalia Onion Committee isn't stopping at the field tour as the only social experience. Waters commented, "The peer to peer influence of social media is a dynamic environment for sharing recipes, tips and savings with consumers all season long."
To that end The Vidalia Onion Committee is also engaging food bloggers with the "V Culinary Challenge." Starting April 21 through June 10, bloggers will be invited to submit their own recipes online at Facebook.com/VidaliaOnions and starting May 1 through August 4, consumers will be invited to vote for their favorites. The grand prize winner will receive a cash prize of $2,500 and their bio, blog and recipe will be featured on the VOC's web site. Two runner-up winners will each receive a cash prize of $500.
To reward consumers who frequent the Vidalia Onion Facebook page during the month of May, the VOC will be hosting a weekly trivia contest and consumers will have the opportunity to win a basket of Vidalia onions along with other items.
For more information, visit Facebook.om/VidaliaOnions. For recipes and tips, visit VidaliaOnion.org.
About Vidalia® Onions
Vidalia® onions are the pioneer of sweet onions and Georgia's official state vegetable. Grown only in the mild climate and unique soil surrounding Vidalia, Ga., they're loved by chefs and home cooks throughout the world. Vidalia® onions are hand planted and hand harvested each year, with sweet, juicy bulbs available seasonally from late April to late August. Vidalia® onions, with their mild, sweet taste, are versatile and can be used in a variety of amazing recipes. These Georgia sweeties are also a low-fat, low-cholesterol and sodium-free way to get a healthy dose of Vitamin C! For more information, visit VidaliaOnion.org.
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.
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SOURCE Vidalia Onion Committee