Farmer: mild weather could reduce onions | News
GLENNVILLE, GA (WTOC)- Workers at Bland Farms sorted through the earliest harvest of Vidalia onions. Farmer Delbert Bland said the weather this year didn't do the crop any favors.
"It's been one of the craziest seasons we've ever had," he assured Friday.
He said it was the mildness, not the extremes, of temperatures that challenged the onions as they grew from transplanted seedlings.
"It was actually not cold enough over a long enough period of time for these onions to be dormant like they're supposed to," he explained.
While it hasn't affected the taste, some don't look as pretty or as full as normal.
Because they aren't as big as usual, the harvest may be shorter and fresh onions won't be at your local market as late in the year as usual.
"Normally, we do into the latter part of August with Vidalias because we're coming out of storage," Bland said. "You'll see less onions available starting in the late summer on through."
April 12 marked the official start of shipping for Vidalia onion growers. Under a federal marketing order agreed on by the local onion farmers in the 1980's, the Georgia Department of Agriculture works with farmers to establish a shipping date.
"The idea is, if a customer buys a bad onion from Farmer A, they don't see it as Farmer A has bad onions, they see it as the whole crop is bad. The idea is to protect the crop's reputation," Bland noted.
However, he and other farmers have already shipped plenty of onions prior to the shipping date. To do so, those onions must pass a federal inspection to make sure they are not pre-mature and potentially damaging to the crop's reputation.
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