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Inside Bulloch Business with Jan Moore - Vidalia onion remains vital cash crop in Ga.
Jan Moore
Jan Moore

      I received a press release this week that reminded just how important the Vidalia onion is to this area of the state. The release highlighted the recent induction of the late Gerald Dasher of G&R Farms in Tattnall County into the Vidalia Onion Hall of Fame.
      Dasher is remembered as a pioneer in the marketing, growing, and distribution of the Vidalia sweet onion. In the early 1970s, he began traveling throughout the United States and several foreign countries to promote and market the "soon-to-be famous" sweet onion crop.
      Dasher was considered an innovator when it came to growing and he was widely known as an aggressive marketer of the onion, which was beginning to attract worldwide acclaim. His operation started out small with just 10 acres of onions, but it later blossomed into a booming industry shipping onions throughout the U.S. and abroad.
      Dasher was one of the first to grow the Vidalia onion and the first to sell them to major grocery chains. Dasher, along with his brother, Robert, began working together in the 1960's and later formed their partnership, G&R Farms.
      Over the years Gerald served as chairman of the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, and was a member of the Governor's International Board of Industry and Trade and the National Onion Association. Today, G&R Farms is recognized as the oldest grower and marketer of Vidalia sweet onions in Georgia.
      Here are a few tidbits about Vidalia Onion production that you might find interesting. Approximately 225 growers cultivate Vidalia Onions on over 14,000 acres. Under the terms of Federal Marketing Order No. 955, as well as a state law, Vidalia onions are defined to include only those produced in 13 counties and portions of seven others, all in Georgia. The 13 counties are Emanuel, Candler, Treutlen, Bulloch, Wheeler, Montgomery, Evans, Tattnall, Toombs, Telfair, Jeff Davis, Appling, Bacon.
      Importantly, the industry's annual Vidalia onion harvest brings some $50 million directly into Georgia's economy. The economic impact from related downstream marketing activities is estimated at $145-150 million.
      Any way you look at it, you just can't beat a Vidalia onion. Now, if we can just get people on television to pronounce it correctly.
      So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.

      Got a scoop for Jan? Call her at (912) 489-9463 or email her at jmoore@statesboroherald.com

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