GLENNVILLE, GA (WTOC) - This past Saturday, Glennville GA hosted their 42nd Annual Sweet Onion Parade - a celebration of the prosperity that's come to the region as a result of the national fame Vidalia onions have won.
The story goes back to the Great Depression when Mose Coleman of Vidalia discovered that his soil produced an especially mild onion. Other area farmers hopped on the bandwagon, eventually banding together and agreeing to market themselves as Vidalias, despite the fact that they are grown in 20 Georgia counties.
A milestone was reached in the 60s when the onions found their way to the shelves of Piggly Wiggly stores regionally, and an even bigger break came in the late 80s when G&R Farms convinced Kroger to distribute Vidalias nationally. Today, those onions are worth $150 million a year to the local economy - a number that would have been difficult for those early farmers to imagine.
"You couldn't even fantasize it. We'll pack more onions in one day than we did the whole year. We've sent out as many as 15 or 20 trailer trucks a day, and back then, you wouldn't get six or seven trucks a year," said Robert Dasher, G&R Farms.
Glennville is the largest producer of Vidalia onions.