2024 Vidalia Onions Harvest Underway

Glenville, GA |

Down in Vidalia Onion country in Southeast Georgia, growers, packers, and shippers are hard at work harvesting this year’s crop of sweet, Vidalia onions and getting them sent to stores across the country. As always, it’s a time of year growers are excited to see, especially after a great year like this one.

“This growing season was, from back in the day, more normal. We actually had a pretty cold winter, over a couple of years ago. We seem to be having a lot more warmer Decembers and Januarys. We almost like it whenever it’s really cold in January and February, because when we transplant, we want them to stay dormant and not grow too much too early. That allows the quality of the onion to be a lot better. When you kind of plant it and let it cut root and just kind of do its thing and not really get too much foliage from the soil temperature being too warm. We had a lot of adequate rainfall. In a lot of ways, we didn’t irrigate very much this year. We’d almost be ready to, and it would come enough rain to keep us from doing it which was a blessing that we conserved a lot more water, but we’ve been blessed with good stands,” says Cliff Riner, Crop Production Director of G&R Farms.

Riner says that they’ve harvested a little more than half of their crop so far this season, and says that this year, the crop is turning out to be a great one, which is just what growers need after a rough couple of growing seasons.

“It is a big capital investment. We purchased this seed in June and July of the year before, and that’s a big investment. Then we have a lot of labor to plant close to the end of the year. Once we’ve shipped these onions and get sales, we don’t receive that money until the retailer pays us which is usually about thirty days. So there’s a big amount of time that we have a lot of expense and debt that we have to hold for several months. That’s stressful on us in a good economy, but when you add the bad economy to it, it makes the stress levels a lot harder on the farmers,” says Riner.

According to Riner, demand for Vidalia Onions has continued to grow year after year, as he says more and more people have begun to recognize the value in their product, which of course is nothing but great news for growers.

“Everybody that we talk to ┬áis very interested in the Vidalia onion. Sweet onion sales in general have increased every year because of the more people eating at home since Covid so that’s reassured our interest in our product because we are a sweet onion leader. We have had a lot of interest from retailers as other production regions that they get onions from during other parts of the year, have struggled with crops. So, with our crop looking good, there’s been a lot of interest in Vidalia onions and we’re excited about that,” says Riner.

By: John Holcomb