The Walla Walla Sweet Onion industry worked with the United States Department of Agriculture, to create Federal Marketing Order No. 956 and was adopted in May of 1995. The order designates Walla Walla Sweet Onions as a unique variety, and establishes a federally protected growing area (the Walla Walla Valley of Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon). Sweet onions grown outside this production area cannot be marketed as Walla Walla Sweet Onions or face stiff federal penalties.
The order seeks to strengthen consumer demand through promotions, marketing, and research and development. These activities are financed by assessments levied on Walla Walla Sweet Onion shippers. This marketing order does not regulate production of Walla Walla Sweet Onions, and places no restriction on quality or quantity.
A ten-member administrative committee, consisting of six producers, three shippers, and a public member, with an alternate for each member, locally administers the order. The program is financed by assessments levied on handlers of fresh market shipments.
To comply with this federal marketing order, and to assure that you and your customers are getting what you pay for, ask your shipper if the sweet onions were grown in the legal production area of the Walla Walla Valley. Make sure you buy your sweet onions from official Walla Walla Sweet Onion shippers. Look for the genuine seal. This is your symbol of genuine Walla Walla Sweet Onions.