The sweet taste of Georgia-grown Vidalia onions is nationally acclaimed, and for one local group, there are sweet rewards that come with the crop’s annual harvest.
The 4-H Vidalia Onion Fundraiser helps to provide scholarships and educational programs for area 4-H members, according to Columbia County Extension Agent Shirley Williamson, who is in charge of the county 4-H program.
“A fundraiser was initiated to provide all students an equal opportunity and specifically the financial means to attend summer camp,” Williams wrote about the fundraiser.
“Using one of the critical issues identified in our urban/suburban county, the promotion of the fundraiser was incorporated into ongoing classroom 4-H club curriculum in agriculture awareness.”
The fundraiser sells Georgia’s signature sweet onion. During the past eight years, students in Columbia County have sold more than 140 tons of onions and have been provided more than 400 discounted or free registration camp fees.
“We are also looking for (businesses) or individuals to make scholarship donations,” said Williamson. “Camp fees continue to go up and we want to help as many students as possible.”
Williamson also noted that this year’s fundraiser is critical for another reason. “The county does not have enough (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) dollars for renovations for 4-H for the old health department building,” she said.
The fundraiser nets a profit of between $8,000 and $10,000 each year. The seller, a 4-H member, receives half of the profits to go towards their camp fee, 4-H activities or prizes.
To order onions, call the UGA Extension Office at (706) 868-3413. Cost of the onions is $10 for a 10-pound bag, $18 for a 25-pound bag and $32 for a 50-pound bag.
Vidalia onion cookbooks are also available for $8 each.