We put 1200 walla walla onions in the ground by hand.
It is appropriate that we cultivate walla walla onions,
given the Mediterranean influence on our cuisine.
The story of the Walla Walla Sweet Onion
began over a century ago on the Island of Corsica,
off the West Coast of Italy. It was there
that a French soldier, Peter Pieri, found an Italian sweet onion seed
and brought it to the Walla Walla Valley.
Impressed by the onion’s winter hardiness,
Pieri, and Italian immigrant farmers who comprised
much of Walla Walla’s gardening industry, harvested the seed.
Walla Walla Sweet Onions get their sweetness
from a unique blending of natural ingredients.
First, there’s the low sulphur content.
It’s half that of an ordinary yellow onion.
Second, Walla Walla Sweets are 90 percent water.
Finally, combining those elements with a mild climate and rich soil
grows an onion that’s wildly acclaimed for all its sweetness
|two completed rows of onions|
|ash from ESTATE's pizza oven adds phosphorus to the onion beds|
The newest aspect of the farm project is getting access
to a 100 foot greenhouse.
to a 100 foot greenhouse.
This is courtesy of Garden Keepers, CSA, a local company
that provides organic, sustainable biodynamic
gardening services to Sonoma businesses.
Ray and Matt from Local Landscapers
worked with them to set up the greenhouse
and we will be able to start some of our plants
from seeds now instead of having to do all transplants.
|rolling out the sheets|
|holding the sheets down|
So, now we will really be nurturing what we plant
from the very beginning – through all the stages
of germination, growth and harvest
to truly bring our bounty to our tables.
|What will be growing here?|
The winter garden is taking shape and
it is encouraging to see some growth.
Not that long ago we were toiling during
dreary days getting the soil ready.
John keeps a watchful eye on his pet project.
Recently he observed to me that
"Chefs are completely reliant on farms,
but most don't get out to them all that often.
And when they do, it may be to pick something,
but not that many actually do the farming.
"I want to get close to the ingredients I use when I cook."
And this inspires him.
I think John is happiest when he is working
with what we grow–either at the farm or in the kitchen.
I know John is anxious for the harvest we will see from the winter garden.
Soon, you will enjoy that at the restaurants.
And then we will be back at work at the farm
planting for spring, summer and fall.
As you follow the blog, you will know
what to expect to see on the table.