The theme of the 2011 annual Vidalia onion industry banquet was baseball, as in, "What a Team When We All Play Together."
Vidalia Onion Committee (VOC) Executive Director Wendy Brannen explains that 2010 was one of the most exciting marketing years ever — a "home run" — for the famous sweet onion. That, the onion marketer says, is in large part because everyone along the supply chain, starting with the growers and packers, then their sales teams, packaging vendors, and others involved, on up to Vidalia's retail partners, participated in the 2010 industry campaign.
Brannen attributes pride in that success to a record crowd, which topped 250 people, at this year's event. Among those attending were the new 2011 VOC executive committee members: Aries Haygood, M&T Farms, Lyons, Ga, Chairman; Michael Hively, Bland Farms, LLC, Glennville, Ga, Vice-Chairman; and public member Myrtle Jones of Toombs County Ag South Farm Credit, Secretary-Treasurer.
The banquet was both a celebration of the sweet onion team's "hitting it out of the park" marketing-wise in 2010 and an optimistic look ahead to the new 2011 marketing plan. It was also the time when Team Vidalia recognized their MVPs: At the industry celebration, the VOC announced the 2010 award recipient for Grower of the Year and its latest Hall of Fame inductee, Delwin Dowdy of Dowdy Farms, Reidsville, Ga., whose wife Mary accepted the posthumous award for her late husband.