Vidalia Season is upon us! We are so excited to send sweet Georgia Vidalias in each Market Basket this week! We are blessed to have these infamous sweet little gems grown right here- only in our state! Here’s a little about these one of a kind onions.
The Vidalia Onion story takes root in Toombs County, when a farmer by the name of Mose Coleman discovered in the late spring of 1931 that the onions he had planted were not hot, as he expected. They were sweet! It was a struggle to sell the onions at first, but Coleman persevered, and managed to sell them for $3.50 per 50- pound bag, which in those days was a big price. Other farmers, who through the Depression years hadn’t been able to get a fair price for their produce, thought Coleman had found a gold mine. They began to follow suit, and soon after, their farms were also producing the sweet, mild onion.
Word began to spread about “those Vidalia onions.” Consumers, then, gave the onions their famous name. Reorders were made, and “Vidalia Onions” began appearing on the shelves of grocery stores. Through the 1950s and 60s, production grew at a slow but steady pace, reaching some 600 total acres by the mid 1970s. At that point, a push was made for Vidalia Onions to be distributed throughout the nation, and several promotional efforts were begun. Onion festivals became an annual event in both Vidalia and nearby Glennville, Georgia, and production grew tenfold over the next decade. In 1986, Georgia’s state legislature passed legislation giving the Vidalia Onion legal status and defining the 20- county production area. The Vidalia Onion was named Georgia’s Official State Vegetable by the state legislature in 1990.
The Vidalia Onion is an important part of not only our Agriculture history, but economics and industry. This is just one of the many reasons we proudly incorporate and support Georgia Grown, local and small farmers and producers in our Market Baskets each week!
Here’s one of our favorite recipes to use with your Vidalia Onions. What is your favorite Vidalia recipe?
1/2 stick unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
2 pounds Vidalia or other sweet onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs
1 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a very large skillet, melt the stick of butter over moderately low heat. Add the sliced onions and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and golden, about 40 minutes. Let the onions cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 350° and butter four 5 1/2-inch gratin dishes (or one small casserole dish). In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the heavy cream and grated cheese. Whisk in the dry ingredients until incorporated, then fold in the onions. Spoon the soufflé mixture into the prepared gratin dishes and bake for about 20 minutes, until the soufflés are set and golden on top. Serve right away.
Enjoy! Ephesians 4:26-27
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Share the SWEET-ness. Like and follow us! We are Sweet Basil Farm & Gardens on Facebook. Look for us on Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter. Sweet Basil Farms is an 80 acre working farm, consisting of large vegetable, fruit and herb gardens, fruit orchards and livestock, where we put great emphasis on natural gardening, growing and livestock management practices. We raise and breed Pyredoodles, Great Pyrenees and Standard Poodles. We also breed and sell poultry, pet pigs, pygmy goats and over 300 varieties of bearded irises and so much more. We are proud members of Georgia Grown and the American Poultry Association.
Our commitment to the communities we serve is to give back to each. We are honored to work with and have many Georgia schools and PTA Partnerships. We work closely with several food ministries, and churches to help them meet the needs in their communities with fresh food every week. James 2:14-26 tells us that our faith is dead without works. Our business model is based upon that. The first fruits of our harvest is always given to God. While it is not necessarily the “temple” as it was thousands of years ago, it is always to worthy community based organizations that are brought before us, and sometimes families in need that others know. They have structures in place to our harvest to many people, that otherwise would not have access to fresh healthy fruits and vegetables.
An 1840’s General Store situated on our property, is used as our on site Farmer’s Market. The old General Store was once the central hub for a railroad community, and served many important roles in the community of Goggans, even a United States Post Office until the 1960’s. It later served a new and bigger community purpose, inspiring our Farmers Market To You program to be born. This building is registered as a Historical site, and is adjacent to the old “Doctor’s Building”, which is rumored to have served as a Courthouse, among other things. The history on our property, rich with farming and community purpose, inspired us to serve our community in a new and exciting way.
We, both David and I, have always had a passion for growing flowers and plants, rooted from wonderful Grandmothers’ teachings. We, like everyone, began to make a more conscience effort to eat healthy and naturally grown fresh food. Since we have 80 acres, we began by adding a “small” acre and a half vegetable garden. When people began driving an hour or two, just to buy our tomatoes and cucumbers, we realized there was a real need in many communities for families like ours….and Farmers Market To You was born. We have been blessed to expand in to several of our neighboring communities, with our Farmers Market To You Market Basket program…and touch and reach families along the way. We donate food and cash to needy families, food ministries, PTA’s, churches and other vital community service organizations in each of the communities we serve.
This recipe, blog post and photos by Tisha Johnson Matthews, of Sweet Basil Farm & Gardens. Special thanks to J. David Matthews, of Barnesville, Georgia for support and patience with all that I try and test.