In this issue...
News Flash!
Featured Products
From Our Friends
Around the Farm
Cooking With Onions
Onion Q&A: Frozen Onion Recipes
Fun Onion Facts
Your Questions Answered
About Dixondale Farms
Join Us on Facebook!
Affiliations
DGA logo


NG logo
Onions: The First Seed

September 2014

  

 

Did you know that onions are one of our most ancient crops? Most historians agree that they were cultivated over 5,000 years ago in central Asia. Because they were easy to transport and had a longer shelf life than most vegetables, the cultivation of onions quickly spread throughout civilization.

 

The first onion seed planted in our area of south-central Texas came from the Canary Islands in 1898. At that time, there were only two short day varieties: the Yellow Bermuda and White Bermuda.

 

The 502 Grano Onion Story

After a few decades, the demand for onion seed overwhelmed the Canary Island producers, so Texas growers looked for alternatives. In the 1920s, the first Grano onion seed arrived from Spain. The round bulbs of the Grano produced much higher yields than the flat Bermuda. However, the Grano matured a couple weeks later than the Bermuda.

 

So for over 10 years, our local Texas Agricultural Experiment Station replanted the Grano seed, using the earliest maturing bulbs for the next generation of seeds. Finally, in 1938, a crop of Grano bulbs matured 10 days before the Bermuda varieties in Field Number 502. That's how the 502 Grano, which is the father of almost all modern short day varieties, got its name.

  

The First Hybrid Onion

The 502 Grano was the variety that, when crossed with the Bermuda, produced the first hybrid onion -- Yellow Granex -- in 1950. Dixondale shipped the first Yellow Granex plants to Vidalia, Georgia in 1952. So while our dear friends in Georgia may not want to admit it, they have Texans to thank for the development of their famous Vidalia onions!

 

Hybridization of onions really took off in the 1960s, adding many new varieties. Some of these new onions were named for the regional areas where they were grown, such as Maui, Walla Walla (Washington), New Mexico, Noonday (Texas), and Ailsa Craig -- named after an island off mainland Scotland. 

 

Farmers have been growing onions in south Texas for 116 years now, and Dixondale has been at the forefront for 101 of those years. At Dixondale Farms, we keep a finger on the pulse of the industry, and keep trying new varieties as they appear. We usually introduce at least one or two new onion types annually, especially when an older variety stops producing seed well. So along with your tried and true favorites, why not try something brand new this coming year?

 

Happy growing,

 

signature

Bruce "Onionman" Frasier

 News Flash! 
More Press About Our First 100 years

 

Just as we were getting ready to release this newsletter, we got news that an article about Dixondale Farms and our first 100+ years of onion farming had been chosen by Texas Gardener magazine as this month's online feature. Given the important role we've played in the 116 years of onion growing in Texas, we thought it would be especially appropriate to include here. It's a great story, so if you'd like to read all about it, just click this link!

Mesh Netting Featured Products 
Storage Aids

 

Don't forget: we sell supplies to make storing your onions much easier. The best way to store onions is in mesh netting like the kind pictured here. Just drop in an onion, tie a knot above it, drop in another, and continue the process until the netting is full. Hang it up in a cool, dry place, and you're sitting pretty. 
  
We also offer orange mesh storage bags in three sizes that are light, strong, and provide the ventilation your onions need to stay fresh. 
  
You'll also need an onion caliper tool, so you can measure your onions and brag about how big they were this season. 

From Our Friends 

Red River Results

  

We've been getting great reviews and feedback on our new Red River variety, introduced last year. Here, customer Jim Duplex shows off one of his red beauties. Jim tells us, "We pulled onions today, and wanted to say thank you for a great harvest. We have a plot in the community garden, and the onions did extremely well. Thanks for a great product!"

 

Thanks, Jim, for sharing this great picture with us. Those are some excellent onions, and we're as pleased with the Red Rivers as you are!

  

Got some onion-related photos to share? Click here for submission tips. You just might see your photo in a future newsletter!
Around the Farm    bruce
Fall Preparation

 

Now that both onion and cantaloupe seasons are over, things have slowed down a little here at Dixondale Farms. But that's not to say that we're taking it easy. We're busy planting seed for our next crop of onion plants, which you can begin to order in November. (Remember, though, that we'll wait until the time is right for planting in your area to send your plants).

 

Work never stops here, but the fall does give us enough time to catch our breath and get ready for next year. We're looking forward to the greatest onion season ever!

Cooking with Onions
Creamy Parmesan Risotto
  • 1 1/2 c. uncooked white rice
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 c. sweet white wine
  • 4 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 1 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 c. button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 c. milk, soured with 1 Tbsp. vinegar

Saut´┐Ż the rice in the olive oil in a large pan for two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the onion, mushrooms, bay leaf, and wine. As the rice cooks, add the chicken broth one cup at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more. Add a little more broth, if needed, before the rice is tender, a total of about 25 minutes. When the rice is cooked, just prior to serving, stir in the cheese and sprinkle with parsley. Serve right away.

  

Recipe courtesy of Dixondale Farms. If you have a recipe you'd like us to print, email it to customerservice@dixondalefarms.com.

Q & A: Frozen Onion Recipes

Q. What kind of recipes can be used for frozen onions after they thaw   

 

A. If you've stored some of your onions in the freezer for later use, you can incorporate them into any "cooked food" recipes. They can't be used raw. How about a mouth-watering recipe for southwestern soup 

Fun Onion Facts

 

Ever heard of potato onions? The name comes from the way they multiply while growing, much as a potato does. In fact, they're sometimes called "multiplier onions." They can store for nearly a year if harvested and cured normally. Potato onions taste just like regular onions, and can be used in all the same dishes.

 

We don't offer potato onions because they can take a very long time to mature: up to 250 days. That's well beyond our growing schedule, so they just don't work for us. 

Your Questions Answered

 

We have answers to your frequently asked questions! Just click the link for information on when to order your onions and how to find your frost and freeze dates, as well as for tips on planting, caring, feeding, harvesting, and storing them.  

 

You can also print our electronic Planting Guide, or download a PDF version for easy reference.

 

And be sure to review our short videos, on topics ranging from bolting and fertilizing, to how onion plants are harvested, and how they deal with cold weather. 

About Dixondale Farms


As the largest and oldest onion plant farm in the U.S., Dixondale Farms offers a wide selection of top-quality, disease-free, ready-to-plant onion plants. To see our complete product line, request a catalog, or for growing tips and cultural information, visit our Web site.

 

Whether you're planting one bunch or thousands of acres, we're committed to your success. We've posted answers to frequently asked questions about growing onions on our FAQ page. You can also go to the Learn section of our Web site for growing guides. And of course, we're also available from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM CT at 877-367-1015, or e-mail us any time at customerservice@dixondalefarms.com.

Facebook Icon Join Us on Facebook!

 

Join the community of friends and growers on our Facebook page! You can connect with us and fellow growers to share stories, photos, recipes, weather information, and other tips.

 

Back in April, Rodney Kimmons sent us a picture of his Dixondale Onions growing in his 34-inch high garden boxes. Raised gardening is a great way to grow onions, because it's easier on those of us who can't bend over easily, and you can grow even in areas where the soil is poor or non-existent. Thanks for pointing this out, Rodney!

e-mail:
phone: 877-367-1015