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Rediscovering the Southeast

A growing, shipping, and selling setting for success
Rediscovering the Southeast

John Shuman, president and director of sales at Shuman Produce, Inc., explains the special circumstances behind the state’s famous Vidalia onions. “The sandy soils and climate in the area allow sulfur to wash through the fields,” he notes, which influences the sweet flavor of the Vidalias. This ‘sweetness’ has won over even non-onion lovers and added to the vegetable’s versatility.

Adding to their exclusivity, Vidalia seeds undergo an intense approval process at the University of Georgia which lasts multiple years and is very competitive—only about 20 varieties gain approval annually. The Vidalia Onion Committee estimates there are 100 registered growers who plant 12,000 acres of Vidalias, with 80,000 seedlings per acre. In Georgia, the committee estimates roughly 2 million 40-pound boxes are produced each year.


Atlanta Farmers Market
16 Forest Parkway, Forest Park, GA 30297
Contact: Paul Thompson, manager
Phone: (404) 675-1782
Fax: (404) 362-4564

Augusta Farmers Market
1150 5th Street, Augusta, Georgia 30901
Contact: Cathy Enroughty, manager
Phone: (706) 721-3004
Fax: (706) 721-9725

Macon Farmers Market
2055 Eisenhower Parkway, Macon, Georgia 31206
Contact: Happy Wyatt, manager
Phone: (478) 752-1097
Fax: (478) 752-1098

Savannah Farmers Market
701 U. S. Highway 80 West, Savannah, Georgia 31408
Contact: Rita Davis, manager
Phone: (912) 966-7801
Fax: (912) 966-7954

Thomasville Farmers Market
502 Smith Avenue, Thomasville, Georgia 31792
Contact: Tom Lawson, manager
Phone: (229) 225-4072
Fax: (229) 225-5296

Cairo Farmers Market (seasonal)
1110 North Broad Street, Cairo, Georgia 31728
Contact: Tom Lawson, manager
Phone: (229) 377-4504
Fax: (229) 377-3607

Cordele Farmers Market
1901 U. S. Highway 41 North
Post Office Box 896, Cordele, Georgia 31015
Contact: Jennifer Felton, manager
Phone: (229) 276-2335
Fax: (229) 276-2777

Moultrie Farmers Market
Post Office Box 273
Quitman Highway, Moultrie, Georgia 31768
Contact: Ronnie Strange, manager
Phone: (229) 891-7240
Fax: (229) 891-7059

Valdosta Farmers Market (seasonal)
1500 South Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601
Contact: Tom Lawson
Phone: (229) 225-4072

Although Georgia is the only region to grow Vidalia sweet onions, Texas, California, New Mexico, Peru, and Mexico also provide sweet onions. These are not seen as competition, as they are mostly produced during the off season. “Peruvian sweet onion imports are similar in shape and flavor profile,” confirms Shuman, “and meet consumer demand during the fall and winter months while Vidalias are out of season.” More importantly, in his view, “I believe imports have helped the sweet onion category and allowed retailers to build a year-round program to increase ring at the register all year long.”