|New Onion Varieties and More||September/October 2011|
As one growing season ends and the next begins, home gardeners and farmers alike reflect on what's worked, what hasn't, and how to plan for the future. This past year has been a challenging one in many parts of the country, with extreme weather conditions wreaking havoc with crops. Our Texas drought is unprecedented, and our costs have risen to the point where we have over $10,000 invested in each acre before we even harvest.
We're committed to providing you with the best-quality onion plants you can get anywhere, and always at affordable prices. We're confident that our 99 years of onion-growing experience will guide us. We must be doing something right: this past year, our customers won State Fair honors for their onions in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Montana. Congratulations, everyone!
In our continuing effort to bring you the best possible onion plants, we're introducing three new varieties this year. They include Texas Early White and Red Creole, both Short Day onions, and Redwing, a Long Day variety. See the New Products section below for details.
As you review what worked this past year and make your plans for next season, we hope you'll consider trying some of these new introductions. In any case, please let us know if we can do anything for you. We appreciate your business, and we're grateful for your continued support as we help you grow the best-tasting, most award-worthy onions in America.
We look forward to a spectacular 2012 season!
Bruce "Onionman" Frasier
Two Reds and One White
In the Short Day category, a new onion, the Texas Early White, will replace the Contessa for 2012. This open-pollinated, globe-shaped onion can reach a whopping 5 ½-6 inches in size -- and it's as mild-flavored as the classic yellow 1015Y. The bulb is resistant to "greening," pink root, bolting, and doubling of the centers, offering robust, dark green tops. The Texas Early White matures a bit later than our other short-day white onions, which lets it be grown in intermediate day areas as well. Although it won't store well (lasting no more than 60-90 days), it's a great early summer option.
We're also adding a new red onion to our Short Day lineup. The Red Creole, another open pollinated variety, is dark red and globe-shaped, with a size potential of 3-4 inches -- and it can store for up to seven months, a remarkable record for any onion. It's a medium maturing onion (110 days) that has an attractive interior color with white flesh and red inner scale. The bulbs are attractive, too, and the taste is excellent, if slightly pungent.
On the Long Day side of the equation, the Redwing onion will replace the Mars. This globe-shaped hybrid has a deep maroon skin, with juicy, firm, thick rings of alternating red and white. It takes 100-120 days to mature, and can reach up to 3½ inches in diameter. The storage potential is good: 4-6 months. This is simply the best long-day (Northern) red onion we have ever grown! Redwing is an All-American high performer, from appearance to its mild but tasty flavor. The Redwing may not do well in the southern portions of the long day areas, though, since it's a true Long Day onion, and does require at least 15 hours of daylight to bulb.
|September 2011 Photo Contest Winner!|
We're delighted to announce our photo contest winners for September: Ray, Sonja and Kimo Berry. That's Kimo in the lower left corner. She's an Akita, a breed of dog hailing from Northern Japan, and the onions she helped Ray and Sonja grow this year are all Intermediate Day varieties: Candy, Red Candy Apple and Superstar.
The Berrys hail from Olema, California -- population 55. Ray and Sonja, look for your Dixondale T-shirts and caps in the mail. Sorry, Kimo, we weren't sure about your size!
Our 2011 photo contest is now over! We received some great photos this year. In the November issue, we'll announce our Grand Prize winner, and feature a bio that we'll also run on our Web site and Facebook page. That photo will grace the cover of the 2012 Dixondale Farms Catalog.
To everyone who participated: thanks for your wonderful submissions!
| Around The Farm|2012 Office Staff
Our customers are very important to us, and we're proud of the dedicated staff members who do their best to keep you all happy. They're clearly doing a great job, since a large proportion of our customer base consists of repeat buyers -- and they were joined by thousands of new customers this past season. So in this issue, we'd like to introduce the ladies who keep everything running smoothly in the front office.
Front Row: Bonnie Hernandez, Mary McKaskle
Back Row: Gabby Herrera, Bethany Jimenez, Laura Krause
Bonnie Hernandez: "I've only been employed by Dixondale Farms for six months, but I feel very at home in this family atmosphere. I've learned a lot about onions and am sure I have much more to learn. I'm eager to begin this new season, and look forward to helping all of our customers as much as I can."
"I'm going into my ninth season with Dixondale Farms. I feel so blessed to be here, working with the owners and staff. I wish you the best growing season, and thank you for coming back every year." Gabby Herrera:
"I am very excited, and can't wait for what's in store for us this year. Thank you so much for making last year great, and we hope that this year will be amazing. I wish you a great planting season!" Bethany Jimenez:
"Working at Dixondale Farms has been a great learning experience for me, and I have grown in my knowledge about onions and what it takes to grow them. For the 2012 growing season, I'll be taking on Dixondale' s wholesale accounts and will do my best to make your onion-buying experience a breeze! I'm looking forward to another great year working with all of you!" Laura Krause:
"Dixondale Farms has some of the best customers ever, and we're all looking forward to hearing from you and working with you again this year. Have a great growing season!"
|Cooking With Onions|
- 4 tablespoons lime juice, divided
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 pounds skin-on chicken parts
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 large onions, cut into narrow wedges
- 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- Lime and orange wedges (optional)
- Fresh chives (optional)
Mix three tablespoons of lime juice along with the garlic, salt, thyme, pepper flakes and black pepper in a dish. Add the chicken and mix well. Heat the oil until hot in a large skillet, and then place the chicken in the skillet in a single layer, cooking it over medium heat until browned -- about five minutes. Turn the chicken over, and brown the other side.
Add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring often, for about eight minutes or until the chicken and onions are cooked through. Add the tomatoes and curry powder to the pan, and then cook for two more minutes. Stir in the remaining lime juice.
Serve with rice, and garnish with citrus wedges and fresh chives, if desired. Makes 4 servings.
This recipe is courtesy of the National Onion Association.
Onions can enhance so many dishes, and can be consumed raw, fried, sautéed or baked. Please send us your favorite onion recipe, so we can share it in an upcoming newsletter. You can email it to us here. Digital photos of your dish are also welcome!
Q&A: Dehydrating Onions
Q. How do I dehydrate onions? I can't use all my harvest right away, and I don't want to waste them.
A. Here's a great answer, which we received from one of our customers.
We have good results with your onion plants most years, so we usually end up with much more produce than we can use. After giving lots of 'em away, I tried something different (for us) this year. I chopped a whole lot of them to dehydrate -- not only the onions, but the tops too. I use one of those sliding cutters, so it doesn't take long to chop a lot of onions.
After they were completely dry, I ran them through a food chopper, reducing them to a fine powder that we use for seasoning in various recipes. It takes on a greenish color from the tops. After grinding to powder, the volume of onions is reduced to a point that they can be stored in quart jars requiring very little space. Give it a try, you'll like it!
|Fun Onion Facts|
Onions were on the menu at the very first Thanksgiving dinner in 1621, when the surviving 53 Pilgrims at the Plymouth (Massachusetts) colony joined with many of the local Native Americans to celebrate the harvest. The Indians brought wild onions to the table; the Pilgrims provided onions grown from bulbs they brought with them on the Mayflower.
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