There is a lot of beauty and wonder in watching a vegetable from start to finish.
I feel a lot of care and pride goes into each and every field out here. But for some reason the onion field keeps coming to mind as one that gets an extra level of hands on care and love.
Many of the other fields Janaki is able to cultivate with the tractor. But the onion field and the tomato and pepper field get straw mulch, plastic, trellis’ and such.
So let me break the dance of the onion down for you. In early March, with a frozen snowy landscape outside, Dave seeded the onions into 72 cell trays to grow big enough and develop enough root matter to make it in the cold of outdoors. In May we placed thin plastic over each bed and then transplanted the onions into the field.
I believe a day later it snowed. Those little transplants survived, though!
Throughout the summer our mantra has been “When in doubt pull weeds from the onion holes”. And so we weeded the onion holes, action-hoed the aisles, mulched the aisles and weeded more onion holes.
Side bar: when I say onion holes I mean the holes in the plastic which the onions are growing out of.
Then after all that, once the greens of the onions fall down we go out and pull them from the ground and let them sit in the sun for a while.
This past week was spent in the onion field. The weather was dreary. We got rained on often. But we got all the onions out of the field and into greenhouses to dry. The forecast mentioned mist and drizzle which turned into thunder and heavy rain.
And through it all you have to laugh because it was a hot dry summer and we had to get rained on eventually. Of course it would be while trying to pick up slimy dried up onion greens. The next step will be curing them in the greenhouse for a month or so before they move to their home in the root cellar. They’ll stay there all the way until the last winter share in April, at which point next year’s onions will already be over a month old!
I will leave you with a final note regarding Taylor Swift. I had a song of hers stuck in my head while harvesting onions all week. The song is titled London Boy, and she sings of falling for a boy from London. Well somewhere around the 30th bucket of onions I changed the lyrics to “Onion boy”.
You know I love an Onion boy…..
From a clean and dry farm crew,
In your CSA box:
Green Beans, Garlic, Broccoli, Carrots, Cucumbers, Dill, Yellow Onions, Purplette Onions, Parsley, Peppers, Russet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Greens Mix
French Onion Soup
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cups sliced onions
- 10.5 oz beef broth
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp dried sherry
- 4 slices French bread
- 1/2 cup provolone cheese, shredded
- 1/8 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Melt butter in with olive oil in a stock pot on medium heat. Add onions and stir until tender.
Add beef broth, thyme and sherry. Summer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat oven on high broil.
Place soup in four oven safe bowls. Place a slice of French bread on top of each bowl sprinkling three cheese blend over the top of all bowls.
Place bowls on a cookie sheet and into the oven. Cook until cheese bubbles and browns slightly. 10-15 minutes. Watch carefully.
Broccoli and Herb Salad
- 4 cups Broccoli, chopped into pieces
- 1-1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1/4 cup fresh dill
- 1 handful fresh parsley
- Juice of one lemon
- 1/4 cup onion
- 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
- 3 cups cooked quinoa (about 1 cup uncooked)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- A handful of nuts (I prefer walnuts)
Cook quinoa and chickpeas. Chop broccoli and onions into small pieces. Finely chop herbs.
Combine chilled chickpeas and quinoa into large bowl. Drizzle olive oil over and mix well. Add broccoli, onion, herbs and lemon juice. Mix and season with salt and pepper to taste. Lastly mix in sunflower seeds and favorite nuts.