According to Georgia’s Department of Agriculture, the farmer who first planted onions in Toombs County in the ‘30s was surprised when they tasted sweet, not hot.
Locals and visitors bought the sweet onions at the Vidalia Farmers’ Market and were hooked on “Vidalia Onions,” a name that’s now protected by trademark and Georgia law.
Today, Vidalia Onions are shipped worldwide. And few operations are as impressive as Smith Family Farms, which grows, boxes, and transports the state’s official vegetable from its homebase in Cobbtown.
Mack Waller, who runs Smith Family Farms with his farther-in-law Ty Powell, said the local soil gives the onions their distinctive flavor. That sweet characteristic extends to other crops, including one of their favorites – carrots.
Powell and Waller have rented land from Farmland Partners since 2016.
Waller explained the process of getting carrots from the ground to store shelves in Canada, where they sell the produce.
In Canada, Waller said the large carrots they ship are further sliced into baby carrots, bagged, and placed in groceries.
Picking and eating carrots particularly delights Waller’s four-year-old son.
“Every chance he gets, he’s on a tractor with me,” Waller said. “Me and my father-in-law want to see [the farm] succeed for my son and his kids in the future.”
Me and my father-in-law want to see [the farm] succeed for my son and his kids in the future.