January 2019
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We hope all of our customers had a Happy New Year and are staying warm. We recently found out that Dr. Leonard Pike, the pioneer of the 1015Y Texas Super Sweet Onion, passed away. That name may not ring any bells with you, but he played quite an important role in the onion industry. Read on to learn about Dr. Pike's contributions to the onion industry and how  Texas Super Sweet came to be.

Happy January,

 
Bruce "The Onionman" and Jeanie Frasier
1015Y Texas Super Sweet and its History
Dr. Leonard Pike
Texas 1015Y Super Sweet onions were developed by Dr. Leonard Pike, a horticulture professor at Texas A&M University. After 10 years of research and development, the Texas 1015 was released in 1983 and nicknamed the "million-dollar baby" because of the enormous cost and amount of time it took to develop. Sweet Texas 1015 onions are robustly softball-sized round, thin-skinned yellow onions with a mild, juicy non-tearing crisp white flesh. The onions have warm and sweet aromatics, due to the presence of the compound, eugenol. Sweet Texas 1015's trademark sweetness allows them the title of being considered one of the sweetest of the all sweet onion varieties. They are also harvested and sold young, with their green tops attached. Younger Sweet Texas 1015's are even sweeter and more tender than their cured counterparts. 

When Leonard Pike and Paul Leeper started their program, it was decided to start selections from open pollinated lines and to make a few crosses and select material for the development of new open pollinated varieties. This decision was based on the fact that after all the work on hybrids, the most productive onion grown in Texas was still Texas Early Grano 502. There were earlier hybrids and different colored hybrids but the most productive was Texas Early Grano 502.

1015Y onions
The pink root screening block was developed at the Weslaco Station so that Leeper and Pike could develop pink root resistance in their new varieties. Texas Early Grano 951 was grown in this plot and selected for resistance to pink root for several years in the development of Texas Grano 1015Y. 

The South Texas Onion Growers Association should be given much credit. They supported Paul Leeper's work before Dr. Pike through the Texas Citrus and Vegetable Growers Association. When Dr. Leonard Pike, a plant breeder from Michigan State, came to Texas, several Texas onion growers put up the original money to support the program. The group later got a USDA marketing order approved to support the onion program. Onion crosses were made and trialed in Uvalde, Pecos, Presidio, El Paso, Fort Stockton, Las Cruces, Lubbock, Hereford, Munday, College Station, Texas and various other places with the assistance of many growers.  Dr. Pike crossed the onion variety Ben Shemen with the famous Texas Grano 502 in hopes of increasing the storage ability of the sweet Texas Grano 502. Releases (1020Y, 1025Y, 1030Y, 1105Y) were made with the Texas Grano 1015Y but because the four other varieties mature later than Texas Grano 502 and are more pungent than 1015Y, they have been grown less than the straight-line selection (1015Y) from Texas Early Grano 951 which is an inbred from Texas Early Grano 502 (4) without genetic crosses. 

After the retirement of Paul Leeper, Dr. Pike continued the initiative for the onion breeding program in Texas. His emphasis is on genetic improvement of onions with high levels of naturally occurring chemicals providing health benefits in our diet.  Texans have the opportunity of enjoying the best onion varieties - - bred and grown in Texas - - in the world. Wouldn't the Mother 'Grano 502' be proud! 

The 1015Y Texas Super Sweet is one of the most requested varieties by customers and we are thankful for Dr. Pike's research so many years ago providing this wonderful onion variety!
From Our Friends
Long time customer, Tamara Hanson of Big Lake, MI shared some of her onion photos with us recently.

Tamara writes, "I'm an uncertified organic grower in Minnesota that sells through a CSA. I thought I'd send some photos of my results from 2018. I always have good results with your plants!"

Below are photos of Tamara's Yellow Spanish onions, Sterling onions, and Shallots. These are great photos of great onions!  Thanks for sharing, Tamara.

Upper left_ Shallots_ Lower left_ Yellow Spanish_ Right_ Sterling
Upper left: Shallots, Lower left: Yellow Spanish, Right: Sterling


Share Your Photos with Us!
We enjoy receiving photos from our customers. We'd love to publish yours in an upcoming newsletter. Just e-mail your onion photos to  customerservice@dixondalefarms.com.
Featured Products
Fertilizers 
We offer numerous products to help you fertilize and protect your onions. All our 
fertilizers  and  weed-and-feed products  come in resealable 4 lb. and 12 lb. bags.

Start your plants off right with our  Dixondale Farms Onion Special 10-20-10 to help establish their root systems. Our unique fertilizer is blended to include all of the micro-nutrients that onions require for optimal bulb formation. Both 4 lb. and 12 lb. bags are available. 4 lb. bags start at $19.95.



Once your plants are established, feed them  Ammonium Sulfate Fertilizer 21-0-0  to maximize growth and bulbing potential. This will help your onions generate more foliage and, therefore, more rings and larger bulbs. Both 4 lb. and 12 lb. bags are available. 4 lb. bags start at $19.95.


Mancozeb
Fungicides
Keep your onion plants disease free. We offer  Mancozeb Fungicide with Zinc to help control diseases such as downy and powdery mildew, blight, neck rot, and botrytis. This product is a broad spectrum, protectant fungicide that prevents fungal and bacterial spores from forming on your leaves. Spray this product as a protectant on a weekly basis 3 weeks after planting up until 2 weeks before harvest. Use as 
needed in the event of wet weather. One pint starts at $19.95.
OxiDate


Protect your organic onion crops with  OxiDate Organic Fungicide. OxiDate offers powerful disease control by killing fungal and bacterial spores on contact while remaining eco-friendly. May be used as a preventative and curative treatment on any type of fruit or vegetable. OMRI listed for organic production. 32 fl. oz. starting at $18.95.
Around the Farm

Meet Blue! He's the resident "farm dog" and has been at Dixondale Farms for 6 years now. He keeps a good watch over all the onion and cantaloupe fields, greets the farm hands and harvesters each morning, and definitely gets plenty of exercise running around the 2200 acre farm.

Blue with our marketing director, Emily King

 Cooking with Onions
Sweet Onion Herb Quiche
Ingredients
  • 1 frozen pie crust
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/3 cup chopped herbs (thyme and chives)
  • 2 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (Italian or whatever you like)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
Directions

1. Set oven to 400F

2.  Peel and very thinly slice the onion. I used the 1/8 inch setting on my mandoline, but you can use a knife if you like, just get the slices as thin as possible. Break apart the rings and pile the onions right into the frozen (not thawed) crust. Even them out from side to side. you may not need the entire onion if yours is large.

3.  Whisk the eggs and cream together, making sure to break up the eggs completely. Stir in the herbs, mustard, and Parmesan. Add salt and pepper.

4.  Scatter the shredded cheese on top of the onions, and then crumble the goat cheese over that.

5. Pour the egg mixture over all. Spread out the herbs, if necessary, across the surface of the quiche (they can tend to clump toward the center after you add the liquid.)

6. Bake for about 50 minutes, give or take, until the quiche is puffed, browned, and set in the center.

Notes: 
  • Use whatever cheese you like, but I think stronger flavor works best.  You might try a smoked cheese.
  • Sweet onions work perfectly for this quiche because they are mild and delicate and don't require long cooking.  Use any variety you can find, right now it's Vidalia season, so that's what I used.  Generic sweet onions can be found right next to the regular yellow, white, and red onions in your produce aisle.
  • You can cut down on calories by using whole or even low fat milk in place of the half and half.
Thanks to The View from Great Island for this great onion recipe! If you have an onion recipe you'd like us to share, please email it to  customerservice@dixondalefarms.com .
All Your Questions Answered
We have answers to your frequently asked questions! Just click the link for information on planting, caring, feeding, harvesting, and storing onions.  

You can also read our electronic Planting Guide or download and print a PDF guide (which includes leeks). 

And be sure to review our short videos on Facebook. Topics range from fertilizing and dealing with cold weather to how onion plants are harvested. You can view these videos even if you don't have a Facebook account.
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 or get growing tips and cultural information, visit our Web site .

New customer? Request your 2019 catalog here. We're available from 8:15 AM to 5:00 PM CT at 830-876-2430, or e-mail us at customerservice@dixondalefarms.com .

Whether you're planting one bunch or thousands of acres, we're committed to your success.
Join Us on Social Media!
Facebook Icon We invite you to join the community on our  Facebook page . You can connect with us and fellow growers to share stories, photos, recipes, weather information, and other tips. 
    
Don't forget to subscribe to our  YouTube channel! Our videos will guide you on selecting the right onion variety, applying fertilizer, the best weed control options, and more.   
 
We're on Pinterest too. Check out our Pins which include photos covering small space onion gardens, tasty onion recipes, planting tips, and more.

You can also join us on  Instagram, a photo community where we're sharing even more Dixondale photos.