July 2016
 
  
We've always known that onions are healthy, and we're happy to have a renowned doctor and nutrition specialist backing us up on that.
 
In the recently published book  Eat Complete: The 21 Nutrients That Fuel Brainpower, Boost Weight Loss, and Transform Your Health, Dr. Drew Ramsey singles out onions as one of several superfoods.

Our favorite alliums are full of health-promoting vitamins and minerals. Some of the top ones include: 
  • High levels of quercetin, an antioxidant compound known for its anti-inflammatory and antihistamine effects. Antioxidants slow damage to the cells and tissues of the body. Our Red Candy Apple onion has a higher concentration of quercetin than most other onions.
  • Biotin, which supports skin, cellular, digestive, and nerve health.
  • Manganese, essential for the smooth operation of many chemical processes in our bodies.
  • Copper, which helps increase absorption of iron.
  • Vitamin B6, which is needed for proper brain function.
  • Potassium, which counteracts the negative effects of sodium.
  • Vitamin B1, which aids in digestive health.
  • Folate, which assists in the formation of red and white blood cells.
As Dr. Ramsey notes in his book,  "Onions are an unheralded superfood. Honestly, I start so many of my dishes with an onion, and there is good reason they are used around the world: they are healthy and delicious... They are a great way to add fiber, vitamin C, and more plant-based antioxidants to your diet."
 
We thank our colleague for sharing the many ways onions can enhance one's life. Dr. Ramsey teaches at Columbia University, and is still active in clinical work. He's also published in
The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Atlantic, Prevention, and Men's Journal, and coauthored another popular book, The Happiness Diet. 

Here's to your health,
 
Jeanie and Bruce

P.S. Energize your day with a delicious, healthy onion. This month's featured recipe is French Onion-Leek Soup from Eat Complete.
 
From Our Friends
Pictured here is our loyal customer  Chuck holding a few of the first Texas Early and Red Candy Apple onions from the Elkin First Baptist Church Fellowship Garden in North Carolina. Chuck reports, "Two thousand more to pull! We give all our produce away to help the needy and elderly in our community. Love your onions!"
 


We love the community spirit shown by you and your friends, Chuck, and we're impressed by the size and quality of your crop. Keep up the great work, folks! 
Cooking with Onions
French Onion-Leek Soup from Eat Complete
This month's recipe is one of many published by Dr. Ramsey in his book Eat Complete. 
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large sweet onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4 leeks, white and light green parts, chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 4 cups bone broth (or two 15.5 oz. cans no-salt added beef broth)
  • One 15.5 oz. can navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup minced chives of garlic scapes
  • 1/2 cup shredded grass-fed Gruyere or Swiss Cheese

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and leeks and stir to coat with oil. Cover. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and starting to brown, 6-8 minutes. Add the thyme, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until the onions become a deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. If the onions and leeks begin to stick or threaten to burn, add a tablespoon of water.  


Stir in the broth, navy beans and vinegar and bring to a simmer over high heat. Cook for one minute to allow the flavors to meld. Turn off the heat and stir in the chives or garlic scapes. Ladle the soup into four large oven-safe bowls and top with cheese. Place under the broiler for 1 minute until the cheese has melted. Serve immediately.    

 

Nutrition Facts (2 cups): 371 calories; 20g protein; 44g carbohydrates; 12g fat (5g saturated); 18 mg cholesterol; 7g sugars; 13g fiber; 750 mg Sodium   

Vitamin K-200%; Vitamin A-200%; Folate-54%; Fiber-52%; Vitamin C-49%  

 

Recipe from Dr. Ramsey's book Eat Complete. Photo courtesy of Ellen Silverman. If you have an onion recipe you'd like us to print, please email it to customerservice@dixondalefarms.com.
Products for Healthy Onions
Harvest and Storage Aids
Once you've harvested your onions, they'll need to be stored until you're ready to eat them. Here are a few products that will help you keep them fresh.

Onion Shears: You can clip your onions like a professional onion harvester with these shears.

Ergonomically designed for quick and easy removal of roots and onion leaves, our shears also work on all other alliums, including garlic and our own Lancelot Leeks. They'll help ensure you enjoy your harvest for months by making it easier to prepare your onions for storage.
  
Mesh Netting
Mesh Netting:
The best way to store onions is in mesh netting. Drop in an onion, tie a knot above it, drop in another, and continue until the netting is full. Hang the netting up in a cool, dry place, and your onions will stay fresh.  

When you want an onion, cut below the lowest knot and take the onion that drops off. The nets are a great storage solution, as they keep onions well-ventilated, and disease (if any) can't travel from onion to onion. 

Storage Bags: If you grow onions in quantity, like so many of our customers do,  our orange mesh storage bags are ideal -- especially if you're planning to sell your onions.

storage bag The bags provide ventilation, and they're light but also strong. They're available in three sizes, with the 10 and 50 pound sizes recommended for larger producers.

You can purchase our storage bags individually or in bulk. They're $2.50 each, but if you buy ten or more, they're just $2.00 each. And as with all products at Dixondale Farms, we don't add shipping charges. 
  
Onion Caliper: With this onion caliper tool, you can accurately determine the size of your crop:

Super Colossal: 4-1/4 inches and up
Colossal: 3-3/4 inches and up
Jumbo: 3 inches and up
Medium: 2-1/4 inches to 3-1/4 inches
Prepack: 1-3/4 inches to 2-3/4 inches
Boiler: 1 to 1-7/8 inches

We're selling this handy tool for $4.99. It's great to use at farmers' markets or for bragging rights with other onion growers!  
Around the Farm
Fourth Grade Visit
The fourth grade students from Carrizo Springs Elementary recently came to visit the farm after reading the book Esperanza Rising. The book details working in the fields of California during the Great Depression. While many aspects of farming have changed since then, the importance of agriculture has not.  Here's Mike Garza, our Farm Manager, teaching the kids how to harvest onion plants.
 
 

This field trip was a great hands-on learning experience for these youngsters. We were happy to have them come see what Dixondale Farms is all about!  
Q & A: Properly Dried Onions

Q.   How long does it take to properly dry my onions after harvest?  
   
A.  Cure (dry) the onions for two to three weeks until the onion tops and necks are thoroughly dry. The entire neck (where the leaves meet the bulb) should be dry all the way to the surface of the onion and shouldn't "slide" when you pinch it. The roots and skins should also feel completely dry. The skin will take on a uniform texture and color and the outer bulb scales will begin to rustle.  Cut off the tops about 1 inch above the bulbs. As the onions are topped, discard any that show signs of decay. 

Be sure to keep your onions in a well-ventilated area to maximize their storage life.
All Your Questions Answered
We have answers to your frequently asked questions! Just click the link for information on which varieties to order, how many plants are in a bunch or bundle, and how to find your frost and freeze dates. We also have tips 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? Get on our 2017 catalog mailing list by clicking here. Catalogs will be mailed in fall 2016. We're available from 8:15 AM to 5:00 PM CT at 877-367-1015, 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!
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. 
 
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And don't forget to find us on  YouTube and subscribe to our videos where Bruce 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.