Green Giant Marker

    The Green Giant Company first began as the Minnesota Valley Canning Company in 1903 canning white cream-style corn, expanding to peas in 1907.  John Silver Hughes, a salesman and one of the few canners in the county, convinced a group of local investors to open a cannery in Le Sueur.  In 1914 a man named Ward Cosgrove joined the Board of Directors and later became the secretary of the company, pushing them to innovate and sell the entire year's production every year.
    Green Giant was originally the name of a variety of pea Corsgrove brought back from England and attempted to patent, but was rejected because the name was not descriptive enough.  The company lawyer suggested that the name be registered as a mascot to keep the patent and in 1925 the first Green Giant Peas were sold.  The giant name referred to the peas, as the giant on the can was white (and menacing).  In 1928 the Jolly Green Giant was born, changing his skin to green and adding foliage to his outfit.  With the help of the Leo Burnett ad agency the Jolly Green Giant was developed as a mascot and came to be associated with all MVCC products.  The company formally changed its name to the Green Giant Company in 1950.  In 1961 the Jolly Green Giant began appearing in TV advertisements, with a kid-friendly companion, Little Sprout, being added in 1973.
    In 1979 the Green Giant Company merged with Pillsbury, which was bought by General Mills in 2001.  Green Giant Company exists today as a division of the General Mills Corporation.

Commerce and Dakota Streets, Le Sueur, MN, 56058