Vidalia onions the early front-runner for the Kentucky Derby
The Vidalia Onion Committee welcomed the 2022 season by announcing the sweet onions are again included on the official menu of the Kentucky Derby. Featured in the Kentucky Derby’s on-site and at-home menus, Vidalia onions add in the sweet and versatile flavor they’re known for to a variety of Derby-worthy dishes.
“We’re proud to announce our continued partnership with the Kentucky Derby this year, once again bringing together two ‘rites of spring,” said VOC Chairman Cliff Riner. “It’s an exciting time of year for us as we ship Vidalia onions to grocery store shelves for all to enjoy in their spring and summer recipes.”
“As we get ready for the 2022 Kentucky Derby, we’re thrilled to have the Vidalia Onion Committee as a returning sponsor,” said Mike Anderson, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “We’re looking forward to enjoying the official menu dishes including this unique sweet onion, while we eagerly watch the races.”
Vidalia onions are featured in several dishes on the official Derby menus including:
- Seared Chicken Breast with Pancetta, Vidalia Onion and Fennel Cream
- Short Ribs with Vidalia Onion Demi
- Twinkle Light Succotash
- Green Eggs and Ham
“When discovering seasonal delights to cook with, Vidalia onions have always stood out as an intriguing ingredient for me to prepare,” said Churchill Down’s Interim Executive Chef Kenneth Hardiman, “Their sweet, mild flavor plays well in a variety of dishes, making Vidalia's the perfect fit for Derby fans to enjoy when at the racetrack or entertaining at home.”
In addition to its partnership with the Kentucky Derby, the Vidalia Onion Committee is also partnering with Chef Alon Shaya, James Beard award winner and owner of Pomegranate Hospitality, to create two additional unique recipes for home chefs and Vidalia onion enthusiasts alike. These include Vidalia Onion and Chicken Gumbo as well as Caramelized Vidalia Onion and Mushroom Toast with Sherry and Gruyere Cheese, which will also be available on the Derby’s website.
While all Vidalia onions are sweet, not all sweet onions can be called a Vidalia. A distinct Granex seed is grown in 20 south Georgia counties, blooming into a sweet, juicy bulb that is harvested, packed and sold on or after the official pack date determined by the state’s agriculture department, resulting in a Vidalia onion.
Since their discovery in the 1930s, Vidalia onions have continued to grow in popularity, earning a trademarked name by Georgia state legislature in 1986 with the Vidalia Onion Act. In 1989, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued federal protection of Vidalia onions, organizing the VOC to support marketing and research initiatives. As of 1992, the state of Georgia was deemed the official owner of the Vidalia onion trademark.
Vidalia onions headed to grocery stores across the U.S. and Canada on April 12, this year’s pack date.