Vidalia® sweet onions happened by chance in the early 1930s when a farmer in Toombs County, Georgia, planted a hybrid yellow granex seed in the sandy, loamy soil of the region. The field produced a crop of onions with a surprisingly sweet taste. The same seeds planted in other areas yielded normal onions. But these sweet onions were something special. And as it turns out, the magic is in the region’s low-sulfur soil.

Originally sold in markets in the Vidalia area, over the years the sweet crop grew in popularity and production, gaining its name along the way. By the 1980s, Vidalia® onion growers in that select region worked together to protect the name of their prized, sweet crop. The Georgia General Assembly passed the Vidalia® Onion Act of 1986, providing legal status and the definition a 20-county growing area. The U.S. Department of Agriculture extended the definition of Vidalia® sweet onions to the national level with Federal Marketing Order No. 955 and the creation of the Vidalia® Onion Committee in 1989.

Vidalia Onion Committee

Today, onions must meet strict state and federal regulations in order to earn the right to be called Vidalia® sweet onions.