Blackberry Farm

Friends of the Farm

Onions from Beginning to End

Although not necessarily very high on the vegetable kingdom's popularity list, it's hard to imagine a kitchen without onions. No great chef would be without them. All of us know the favorites; tomatoes, watermelon, sweet corn, and number of others. Somehow I think that many people take onions for granted. We know they are called for in many recipes, but we don't give the subject much thought. Imagine some of your favorite dishes without onions; in many cases, it would leave an important part of the recipe missing.

Here at Blackberry Farm we never take our onions for granted. During the winter we seed trays for various varieties of onions and when the weather begins to warm up we set the young plants out in rows in the fields. We also buy onion sets, which are one small onion bulbs, and those are set out in rows as well. Our onion crops include the early sweet types, which are good during the late spring and early summer months. The fall or winter onions that we grow are good storage types and are stronger in flavor.

At Blackberry Farm, we are able to grow onions for 365 days a year, so that we always have onions in some form for our chefs to choose from. One of the great advantages of onions is that they can be used at any stage of the development-- beginning when they are small green onions, mid-sized, and fully developed.

March has arrived and our hoop houses are filled with trays of small green onions, which will soon be ready to be set out in the field, marking the beginning of a new farming season.

John Coykendall, Master Gardener