Green Giant

Green Giant and Le Sueur are brands of frozen and canned vegetables owned by General Mills. The mascot of Green Giant is the Jolly Green Giant.

In Canada, the brand Le Sieur (literally, the lord) is used instead of Le Sueur to avoid the implications of the French word sueur 'sweat'.[1][citation needed]

Contents

Company and brand history

The Minnesota Valley Canning Company was founded in 1903 in Le Sueur, Minnesota. The brand "Green Giant" was originally used for a large variety of pea, "Green Giant Great Big Tender Peas", in 1925. The figure of a giant was introduced in 1928. The company was renamed to the Green Giant Company in 1950. In 1979, it merged with the The Pillsbury Company, and in 2001, the group was acquired by General Mills.[2]

The Valley

"The Valley of the Jolly Green Giant" refers to the Minnesota River valley around Le Sueur. Today, just before dropping down into the valley heading south on U.S. Route 169 an enormous wooden sign of the Jolly Green Giant, along with Sprout, is visible with the caption "Welcome to the valley". Since the sign pokes up through trees, it has become a source of minor controversy as it frightens motorists frequently.

60 miles further south on Route 169, in the City of Blue Earth, Minnesota, a statue of the Jolly Green Giant is also open to public view. In 1978, the town of Blue Earth, Minnesota paid $43,000 to erect a 55 feet (17 m) fiberglass statue of the Jolly Green Giant to commemorate the linking of the east and west sections of Interstate 90. It was permanently erected on July 6, 1979, at 43°39′02″N 94°5′46″W / 43.65056°N 94.09611°W / 43.65056; -94.09611 (Jolly Green Giant statue (Blue Earth, Minnesota)). The statue attracts over 10,000 visitors a year.

The 55 foot statue of the Green Giant in Blue Earth was the idea of Paul Hedberg who owned local radio station KBEW. During the summer Hedberg interviewed travellers going through Blue Earth on U.S. Highway 16 for his popular radio program called "Welcome Travellers". At the end of each traveller interview Hedberg presented guests a sample of Green Giant corn and peas which had been canned in the local Blue Earth Green Giant plant. A common theme arising in interviews was a desire to "see the Green Giant."

In 1977 Hedberg contacted Thomas H. Wyman, President of Green Giant, to see if the company would allow a statue of their corporate symbol to be erected along the new Interstate 90 in Blue Earth. Wyman granted permission under the condition that funds for the project were raised locally. Hedberg approached ten local businessmen with the idea and asked for $5,000 each; within a week the $50,000 had been donated.

It is mounted on a pedestal and has steps so visitors may take a picture standing directly under the Green Giant. Blue Earth is at the end of the Minnesota River Valley and still has a canning plant formerly owned by Green Giant that continues to can corn and peas each summer. The Blue Earth Green Giant statue was erected in 1978 to coincide with the opening of Interstate 90 across Southern Minnesota. At Blue Earth, East met West completing construction of the longest 4 lane road in the United States, September 23, 1978.

In popular culture

  • In 1963, the Green Giant company released a 7-inch, 4-song EP entitled "When Pea-Pickers Get Together: Tennessee Ernie Ford sings the Green Giant's (and everybody's) favorite folk songs."
  • On The Electric Company, Phillip as Orange Giant was portrayed by Jim Boyd did a commercial a parody of Green Giant.
  • The Jolly Green Giant starred in a 2005 Mastercard commercial "Icons" along with 9 other mascots from other companies (including General Mills' own Pillsbury Doughboy, the Morton Salt Girl, and Count Chocula) having dinner.

See also

References

  1. ^ This despite the fact that the Minnesota town of Le Sueur is named for the Frenchman Pierre-Charles Le Sueur, and the French for 'sweat' is la sueur.
  2. ^ "Our Story", Green Giant web page

External links


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