(March 20) Vidalia onion grower-shippers will be able to use a new logo and an expanded chef advisory board in promotions this spring.

In March, the Vidalia Onion Committee, Vidalia, introduced the logo and added four chefs, including Food Network’s Paula Deen, to the advisory board.

In cookbooks and on her “Paula’s Home Cooking,” television show, Deen has featured Vidalia onions in recipes, including relish, cornbread and her “Saturday Night Vidalia Onions.” The latter recipe will be included in Vidalia Onion Committee press kits and newspaper releases.

Wendy Brannen, the committee’s executive director, said Deen’s presence on the advisory board underscores the Southern charm of the Vidalia onion.

“Paula is among some of the most supportive chefs for Vidalia onions, and for her to agree as her stardom is on the rise to be on the chef advisory board is really a coup for us,” Brannen said.


Brannen said she’ll disseminate the new logo to shippers, and she’s already contacted major packaging companies to make it available to them for this season.

“When I came into this position in July, I realized one of the things that was missing from this office was a Vidalia onion logo, which is unacceptable,” she said. “It’s been one of my primary objectives to get us a good logo to be the face of the Vidalia onion.”

Brannen wants to turn the focus from her office — shaken by an embezzlement scandal with the arrest of former executive director Tina Wheeler in 2004 — and back to the Vidalia onion.

“The larger picture is that the committee is not what’s important to the consumer. What’s important to the consumer is the product, and I don’t want this office to spend time promoting an organization,” Brannen said. “I want this office to promote a product.”