Bonus Content

Season 2, Episode 08

One Sweet Circle

Vidalia Onions Year-Round? Retail Market Said "Find A Way"

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Everybody loves Vidalia onions — so much so that the demand far outstrips supply. Vidalias can only be grown in about a 50 mile radius of Vidalia, a small town in Southeast Georgia. The harvest begins in April, and by early September the crop is gone.

Until the 1980s, no one outside Vidalia had ever had the onion. Once everybody else caught on, they couldn’t understand why they could only have ’em 5 months a year. Grocery stores knew they could sell an onion like Vidalia year-round. Shoppers were clamoring for it. So the retail market told Vidalia: “Find a way to get us a suitable onion year-round.” The answer wasn’t simple, nor a short-time coming.

But eventually farmers from Vidalia found the perfect off-season counterpart in the country of Peru. In the arid climate and sandy soils, varieties of Vidalia onions grow that are delightful first cousins to their more famous Georgia kin.