Bounty from the World’s Smallest Licensed Vidalia® Onion Farm

THE GOLDEN ONION

Bounty from the World’s Smallest Licensed Vidalia® Onion Farm

Set to Supply Inaugural Professional Cooking Competition

 Vidalia, Georgia, USA (March 14, 2012) — Chefs across Georgia are scrambling, and not just eggs as the deadline for the inaugural Golden Onion professional cooking competition approaches on Friday, March 16, 2012. While eager chefs rush to finalize their applications, the Vidalia® Onions that will be used during the competition are growing right on schedule.

“The crop of Vidalia Onions that will be harvested for the competition is in the ground at the Vidalia Onion Museum,” says Ingrid Varn, executive director of the Vidalia Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The sweeties grow in the world’s smallest licensed Vidalia Onion field under the watchful eyes of R.T. and Diane Stanley of Stanley Farms.” R.T., who was the 2007 Onion Grower of the Year, tackled the small plot as he would any other, taking meticulous soil samples, measuring the Ph and prepping the sandy ground (typical of Vidalia fields) with fertilizer and lime.

The small patch of Vidalia Onions was first planted in 2011 as a living exhibit near the entrance to the Vidalia Onion Museum. In the small plot thousands of Vidalia seedlings grow—sufficient quantity to supply the 12 chefs who will compete in the Golden Onion on Sunday, April 22, 2012, in Vidalia, Ga. This new professional cooking competition showcases the Vidalia® Onion, Georgia’s most exclusive and internationally renowned agricultural treasure, and also offers a new platform for chefs across Georgia to display their skills and creativity.

Golden Onion competitors will have one hour to prepare and present a recipe that features Vidalia® Onions. Twelve chefs are able to compete, and have the option to work with one assistant. To be eligible, competitors must be lead chefs (with job titles such as executive chef, chef de cuisine, chef/owner) for a free-standing restaurant in Georgia. Chefs working at restaurants associated with a luxury country club, resort or hotel are also eligible.

Dishes will be judged on the basis of taste, presentation and creativity. Failure to feature the flavor of Vidalia® Onions or making last-minute changes to the recipe that was submitted during the application process may reduce a chef’s final score. Judging will be blind.

The First Place champion will be awarded the Golden Onion trophy, an exclusive honor to hold for one year. The trophy must be surrendered the following year to the next winner. The First Place champion will also receive a cash prize of $500. The second place winner will receive $250 and the third place winner $100. All winners will also receive commemorative plaques.

The Golden Onion competition will be held at the Vidalia Community Center, 107 Old Airport Road in Vidalia, Ga. The event is open to the public starting at 12:30 p.m. Advance tickets cost $5 per person or $10 at the door. For details visit www.vidaliaonionfestival.com.

About the Vidalia Onion Festival

Celebrating its 35th year in 2012, the Vidalia Onion Festival will be held April 26-29 in Vidalia, Ga. The event has been featured on The Food Network and recognized as one of the “5 Don’t-Miss Festivals Across the U.S.” by MSNBC. The four-day festival offers something for everyone, including the Miss Vidalia Onion Pageant, a children’s parade, outdoor music concerts, an arts and crafts festival, street dance, car show, the Kiwanis Onion Run, the Vidalia Onion Festival Rodeo, and the Famous onion eating contest. Come to Vidalia to experience the “whole onion.” For more information, visit www.vidaliaonionfestival.com.

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. Their mild, sweet taste makes Vidalia® Onions more versatile than stronger onions. And these Georgia sweeties are a low-calorie, fat, cholesterol, and sodium-free way to get a healthy dose of Vitamin C. For more information, visit www.VidaliaOnion.org.

About the Vidalia® Onion Committee

Because Vidalia® Onions are sweetly unique, farmers were forced to unite and seek legal protection of their crop and its name. Federal Marketing Order No. 955 was established in 1989 to stipulate how and where the crop can be grown and sold. The Vidalia® Onion Committee administers FMO No. 955 and authorizes production research, marketing research and development and marketing promotion programs. This federal protection reinforces Georgia state laws and the Vidalia® trademark. So, you can try to grow a sweet onion elsewhere, but you cannot call it a “Vidalia!” For more information, visit www.VidaliaOnion.org.

About the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA)
The GRA’s mission is to serve as the voice for Georgia’s Restaurants in Advocacy, Education and Awareness. The GRA is sanctioned by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) to operate Georgia’s only not-for-profit representing the state’s foodservice industry. From large chains to start-ups, the GRA helps make Georgia a better place for restaurants to do business and helps make restaurants better for Georgia. For more information, visit www.garestaurants.org.

About Georgia Tourism

Whether visiting for business or on vacation, the Georgia travel experience brings a contemporary and modern feel with the authenticity, heritage and hospitality of the South. From Georgia’s energetic and lively cities to the relaxing coastline and breathtaking mountain scenery, Georgia boasts rich and unique experiences that are unparalleled. For more information, visit www.ExploreGeorgia.org