The onions were first grown near Vidalia, Georgia, in the early 1930s. It is an unusually sweet variety of onion, due to the low amount of sulfur in the soil in which the onions are grown. Moses Coleman is considered the person that discovered the sweet Vidalia Onion variety in 1931.
Georgia's state legislature passed the "Vidalia Onion Act of 1986" which authorized a trademark for "Vidalia Onions" and limits the production area to Georgia or any subset as defined by the state's Commissioner of Agriculture. The current definition includes:
The Vidalia onion was named Georgia's official state vegetable in 1990.
Beginning at a point in Laurens County where U.S. Highway 441 intersects Highway 16; thence continue southerly along U.S. Highway 441 to a point where it intersects the southern boundary of Laurens County; thence southwesterly along the border of Laurens County to a point where it intersects the county road known as Jay Bird Springs Road; thence southeasterly along Jay Bird Springs Road to a point where it intersects U.S. Highway 23; thence easterly to a point where U.S. Highway 23 intersects the western border of Telfair County; thence southwesterly following the western and southern border of Telfair County to a point where it intersects with Jeff Davis County; thence following the southern border of Jeff Davis County to a point where it intersects with the western border of Bacon County; thence southerly and easterly along the border of Bacon County to a point where it intersects Georgia State Road 32; thence easterly along Georgia State Road 32 to Seaboard Coastline Railroad; thence northeasterly along the tracks of Seaboard Coastline Railroad to a point where they intersect Long County and Liberty County; thence northwesterly and northerly along the southwestern border of Liberty County to a point where the border of Liberty County intersects the southern border of Evans County; thence northeasterly along the eastern border of Evans County to the intersection of the Bulloch County border; thence northeasterly along the Bulloch County border to a point where it intersects with the Ogeechee River; thence northerly along the main channel of the Ogeechee River to a point where it intersects with the southeastern border of Screven County; thence northeasterly along the southeasterly border of Screven County to the main channel of the Savannah River; thence northerly along the main channel of the Savannah River to a point where the northwestern boundary of Hampton County, South Carolina intersects the Savannah River; thence due west to a point where State Road 24 intersects Brannen Bridge Road; thence westerly along Brannen Bridge Road to a point where it intersects with State Road 21; thence westerly along State Road 21 to the intersection of State Road 17; thence westerly along State Road 17 to the intersection of State Road 56 and southerly to the northern border of Emanuel County; thence westerly and southerly along the border of Emanuel County to a point where it intersects the Treutlen County border; thence southerly to a point where the Truetlen County border intersects Interstate Highway 16; thence westerly to the point of beginning in Laurens County.