In the 1940s farmers living in southeastern Georgia began to grow an onion they named the Vidalia onion after a town in the growing area. The soil conditions in that part of Georgia made the onion grow mild and sweet instead of hot. In the 1970s and 80s, growers banded together to protect their brand name and to keep growers in other areas from marketing their onions as Vidalia onions. In 1986 the Georgia legislature passed a bill that limited Vidalia onion production to only a few counties in Georgia. In 1990 the Vidalia onion became Georgia’s Official State Vegetable.
Today, when you drive through these counties you’ll see fields of onions growing in former cotton fields. Growers produce and ship about 5 million 40-lb boxes of onions each season. Both Vidalia, in Toombs County, and Glennville in Tattnall County hold Onion Festivals each spring.