Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black says thanks to a mild winter, Vidalia® onions will be ready just a little earlier this seasons.

Consumers can expect to see the sweet tasting onions in stores in mid-April as the official pack date is set for April 12.

The early April date was recommended to Commissioner Gary W. Black during a grower meeting this week in the 20-county Vidalia® onion growing region.

“I would like to thank all members of the Vidalia® Onion Advisory Panel, scientists from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and our Depart of Agriculture professionals in the growing region for their science based input. At this time the 2017 crop is in excellent condition and considerably ahead of schedule thanks to good weather,” said Commissioner Black in a press release. “The panel recommended and I have accepted the proposal to set the 2017 pack date for Wednesday, April 12. We ask the Lord’s blessing on these farm families and feel confident that this date will allow our Vidalia® onion farmers to put the best product on the market for our consumers who have been waiting for that sweet Vidalia® flavor.”

Rules established by the Georgia Department of Agriculture prohibit farmers from packaging Vidalia onions before a pack date. The Georgia legislature award the patent of the Vidalia onion to the Department of Agriculture back in 1986 in order to “protect the integrity of the brand.”

The onions are grown in just 20 Georgia counties in the southeastern part of the state. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that Georgia farmers harvested 268 million pounds of Vidalia® onions from 11,200 acres in 2015.

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Jessica Szilagyi is statewide contributor for All On Georgia and Market Manager for Southeast Georgia. Her main focus with All On Georgia is state and local politics as well as agriculture. She’s served as a policy analyst at the State Capitol and as a campaign manager in political races across the state.

She writes for and has two blogs of her own: ‘The Perspicacious Conservative’, a political blog, and ‘Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers’, a blog on moving from Atlanta to rural Georgia. Jessica is also a contributor for Fox5 Atlanta’s ‘Like it Or Not.’