October 2020 - 1
power up for
the next generation of
injustices is a shared
October 2020 | Volume 54 |
Georgia grower celebrates
75 years of G&R Farms
From the left are Walt, Blake, Pam and Robert Dasher. Photos: G&R Farms.
By Stephen Kloosterman
While G&R Farms has expanded and
adapted to the demands of clients over the
years, its core values are as constant as the
Vidalia onions for which it's known.
In 1945, Walter L. Dasher started
a small farm in Glennville, Georgia,
outside Savannah, giving it the initials of
his sons Gerald and Robert.
The farming operations, which have
swelled to encompass some 5,000 acres,
are 75 years old this year. A business
importing sweet onions from Peru
grew to more than 44 million pounds
from 2009-2019. Walt Dasher, vice
president of G&R Farms, is a thirdgeneration
grower and an owner. His
mother Pam, uncle Robert and cousin
Blake remain active in the company as
employees and owners.
" My grandad was adamant that we be
honest and our ethics be high, and that's
what we instill in our staff, " Dasher said.
" I had a guy one time come to me, and
he offered to steal a bunch of chemicals
from another farmer. Needless to say,
I terminated his employment that
afternoon. We called the authorities. "
Crops and consistency
The company is perhaps best
known for Vidalia onions, of which
the operation grows about 900 acres.
Walter L. Dasher was one of the growers
who pioneered the development of
the onions ultimately leading to the
establishment of a federal marketing
order in 1989.
Walt Dasher said that the key to
marketing the onion nationally is its
" The flavor profile, the pungency, the
sugar content - they're always going to
be very mild and very related - they're
always going to be very similar, " he said.
" Some other sweet onions, you can have
a tendency to have waves; you can have
up and down spikes. "
He said he's not criticizing other
growers' onions - he even catches
different spikes or " waves " of flavor in the
sweet onions G&R imports from Peru.
" I could eat (a non-Vidalia sweet
onion) like an apple, and very next one,
the same day, it'll take the roof of your
mouth off, " he said.
Importing Peruvian onions began in
2009 as a service to its customers. G&R
Farms onion products are Rainforest
Alliance certified to be grown and
harvested on farms and forests that
follow sustainable practices.
" The people that we're partners
with, we wanted to provide them with
year-round produce, " Dasher said. " It's
worked great. We're one of the top
importers in the country now. "
Living off the land
As a crop, onions represent about 75%
of G&R's business. They grow about
500 acres each of corn, soybeans and
pecans. In addition to a 1,500-acre cattle
operation, the farm's other crops include
hay, wheat and rye. It is not growing
peanuts this season, although that changes
from year to year.
The farm runs year-round with about
100 full-time employees. G&R Farms
also employs seasonal help and for about
See G&R, page 5
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of October 2020
October 2020 - 1
October 2020 - 2
October 2020 - 3
October 2020 - 4
October 2020 - 5
October 2020 - 6
October 2020 - 7
October 2020 - 8
October 2020 - 9
October 2020 - 10
October 2020 - 11
October 2020 - 12
October 2020 - 13
October 2020 - 14
October 2020 - 15
October 2020 - 16
October 2020 - 17
October 2020 - 18
October 2020 - 19
October 2020 - 20
October 2020 - 21
October 2020 - 22
October 2020 - 23
October 2020 - 24
October 2020 - 25
October 2020 - 26
October 2020 - 27
October 2020 - 28
October 2020 - 29
October 2020 - 30
October 2020 - 31
October 2020 - 32