The Making of our Vidalia Onion Story

Vidalia_openerBy Julia Sayers, Associate Editor

If you picked up a copy of our most recent May/June issue, you probably saw our feature on Vidalia onions. Vidalia onions are a special type of sweet onion, grown only in southeast Georgia and loved by all Southerners. In the issue, we wrote about the process of planting Vidalias and what makes them special, and we shared six delicious recipes.

Our team had so much fun with this story, and we wanted to give you a glimpse into what goes into producing our large feature stories.

Visiting Vidalia

Last April, at the height of Vidalia onion season, Editorial Director Alyce Head and I visited Vidalia, Georgia, to see where it all begins. We spent the weekend there touring farms and processing plants, and we ate anything and everything Vidalia onion!

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Our first stop was a farm tour and a hayride through the fields. The Vidalias were ready for harvesting so we had the opportunity to pull one out of the ground ourselves. We had to tug hard, but they came out, roots and all.

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After the onions are harvested and dried, they go through the processing plant. Touring the plant was fascinating. Did you know that each onion is graded for size and sorted with onions of its same size for packaging? Each onion is also checked by hand for any defects.

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We also went to the Vidalia Onion Festival, held each spring in Vidalia, and couldn’t resist eating a bloomin’ Vidalia onion.

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Recipe Testing

While we were in Vidalia, we noticed people put Vidalia onions in everything. We learned so many new ways to use the sweet onions. We had them in soups, in salad dressings, over steaks, and even on top of a cheesecake and in frozen yogurt (although I can’t say I would eat that again). We were inspired by some of these dishes and worked with our test kitchen to come up with six great recipes for you to make at home.

We went through a lot of tests and a lot of onions and finally settled on what we knew were the best ones. You’ll have to pick up the issue to see them all and get the recipes, but my personal favorites are the Cheesy Vidalia Onion Dip and Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Vidalia Onions with Lemon-Butter Sauce.

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The Final Result

After the recipes were tested and photographed, I worked on writing the story and adding in fun facts. Our art director then designed and laid out the story with beautiful photographs and fun graphics.

We loved how our “Sweet Vidalias” story turned out and hope you have as much fun reading it and making the recipes as we had producing it. 

Vidalia_spreadPick up the May/June 2015 issue from our Hoffman Media Store or on newsstands now to read the full story!