We have Customer Norma to thank for this. Had she not shared her knowledge of Noondays with us some years ago, we might never have discovered the exceptional sweetness of Yellow Granex onions. She did it purely out of self-interest, mind you – she wanted us to grow them so she’d have an outlet for buying them – but there’s certainly no shame in that. Once you’ve tasted a Yellow Granex onion (known as the aforementioned Noonday if it’s grown in East Texas; a Maui onion if in Hawaii; and most famously, a Vidalia if grown in Georgia), there’s no turning back.

Now, the last time I wrote in this farm blog about the magnificence of onions, I received a comment from a woman who corrected my overly broad assessment by letting me know that she’s highly allergic to them. I was sorry to hear that. More distressing still, I’d think, would be a Nightshade allergy since that would mean leaving tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes out of the menu [gasp!] but I suppose we all have our crosses to bear. Personally, I must avoid spicy food, an aversion that doesn’t make me happy at all. (Farmer John isn’t tickled to death about it either, considering his evening meals are equally bland as a matter of proximity.)

Perhaps the advent of a degree of dietary wimpiness in my adult years makes me especially appreciative of Granex onions. When I was a kid, I loved gnawing on raw green onions, each bite smashed into a plate of salt as I worked my way from one end to the other. Were I to do that nowadays, even minus the overdose of sodium, I’d regret it. Long ago I vowed never to eat a raw onion again.

The Yellow Granex changed that. One of Farmer John’s and my favorite Sunday lunches is a big pan of bean and cheese nachos topped with sliced avocadoes, fresh farm tomatoes and chopped raw Granex onions. Although tortilla chips slathered with cheese might not win the Healthiest Meal in Town award, we’ve convinced ourselves that the addition of our tomatoes and onions makes up for it (and besides, they’re just so darned tasty).

Like I’ve mentioned before, this has turned out to be an excellent onion season, particularly for the Yellow Granex. Harvest is happening in earnest, as almost all the onions have fallen and are ready to be pulled from the ground.

Look closely, they’re in there. (Kudos to the harvesters for braving all sorts of prickly, sticky, flesh puncturing-ly painful weeds in their search for each and every onion.)

The fallen onions are gathered up, stacked into the wheelbarrow and toted in multiple trips to the salad shed where they’re laid out on the concrete floor to dry a little.

After a bit of time, someone crawls along the floor (the person who invented knee pads deserves a medal) and cuts the bulbs from the greens. A day or two more passes, when finally a couple people either twist off the dried roots by hand or cut them off with scissors and pile the onions into boxes for storage prior to taking them to market.

The process has already taken many, many hours and we still haven’t finished bringing in all the onions from the fields yet. The previous two years were fairly lousy for us, onion-wise, so we didn’t have to spend so much time pulling, digging and drying, followed by de-topping, root removal and boxing…but we also didn’t get to enjoy such a marvelous bounty of onions. Sweet, sweet onions.

I’ve heard tell of old codger farmers – those men whose faces and hands are hardened and tanned like leather – who’ll pick up a whole onion, peel it and eat it like an apple. Even back in my raw green onion days, I wouldn’t have imagined doing that. But maybe if that whole onion were a Noonday…?

* * *

Because we know most of you would rather nosh on a whole tomato, we’re bringing plenty of those with us to the farm stand on Wednesday (but don’t forget the onions!). Last week we had tomatoes all the way until 2 p.m., and we’re bringing just as many (or maybe more) this week! Here’s what all we’ll have for you:

LOADS of Early Girl tomatoes, as well as big slicer Bella Rosa tomatoes; freshly dug new potatoes – Yukon Gold and Red Lasoda; super sweet Yellow Granex onions (of course!) and some Red Creole onions; bunches of chard; basil; fresh elephant garlic; bell peppers; the last of the fennel; purple and golden beets; bunches of leeks; some squash (our first crop has pretty much pooped out on us, and we’re awaiting the next); and several bits of of this’s and thats.

**Remember, if you get there and find the parking lot is full, there’s street parking on Bell Avenue, just ½ block south of the Asian Center. A nice sidewalk along Jollyville Road leads you right back to us.

***Customer Sidney tells me the Yellow Granex are perfect for onion soup! Here’s the recipe she uses:

6 Tbsp. Butter
5 cups thinly sliced onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. Dry mustard
Dash of dried thyme
1 quart stock or water
1 Tbsp. Tamari
3 Tbsp. Dry white wine
Salt & pepper to taste
Grated cheese

Saute onions and garlic in butter until brown and tender. Stir in mustard and thyme, then add remaining ingredients except croutons and cheese. Cover and cook slowly, at least 30 minutes. Top with croutons and cheese. Makes 4-6 servings.

Jo Dwyer
Angel Valley Organic Farm
Farm stands:
Saturdays 9:00-1:00 in Jonestown on FM 1431 at the blinking yellow light; and
Wednesdays 10:00-2:00 in NW Austin at the Asian American Center, 11713 Jollyville Road (1-1/2 blocks north of the intersection of Jollyville and Duval)