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Senators get a sweet duty

POSTED: June 26, 2008 5:00 a.m.
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U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss helped deliver Vidalia sweet onions to their 98 Senate colleagues Wednesday.

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., climbed onto the back of a truck Wednesday to help unload more than 2,000 pounds of Vidalia onions that were driven from Georgia to Washington this week. Isakson and Chambliss delivered 10-pound boxes of the famous Georgia-grown onions to all 100 Senate offices. This is the seventh year that Georgia senators have presented the onions to their colleagues in Washington.

“Georgia’s Vidalia onions are second to none, and Senator Chambliss and I are delighted that the folks on Capitol Hill can enjoy the best-tasting, sweetest onions in the world,” Isakson said.

“Georgians are proud of our Vidalia onions and it’s a great honor to once again share them with our colleagues in the United States Senate,” said Chambliss.

Attached to each bag of onions was Sen. and Mrs. Isakson’s recipe for Vidalia onion soup as well as Stockbridge resident Doris Wallace’s recipe for Vidalia onion sausage casserole. Mrs. Wallace is the mother of Toni Brown, Isakson’s state liaison. Also included were recipes for Vidalia onion dip and Vidalia onion pie from Senator and Mrs. Chambliss.

The onions came from Bland Farms in Reidsville, where Raymond and Delbert Bland have been in the business of growing Vidalia onions for three decades.

Delbert and Sandra Bland and Reidsville resident John Conley, secretary-treasurer of the Georgia Peace Officers Association, drove the onions from Georgia to Washington.

The history of Vidalia sweet onions dates back to 1931, when Vidalia farmer Moses Coleman planted onions that proved to be unexpectedly sweet. For many in the southeast Georgia area, this discovery was a major boost that helped sustain their farms during the Depression.

Today, Vidalia sweet onions are grown on more than 12,000 acres in the fertile soil of 20 southeast Georgia counties.

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