Washington Sweet Onions - Friday, December 18, 2015

Walla Walla, Washington.  Easily one of the more memorable names of a community within the United States, and a special destination for a number of reasons - the Whitman Mission National Historic Site, the Kirkman House, and Fort Walla Walla to name three.  But there is something else that is produced in Walla Walla worth mentioning, something you do not need to go to Eastern Washington state to appreciate:  onions.  The story of Walla Walla onions begins on an island near Italy.  The French island of Corsica is not only where Napoleon Bonaparte was born in 1769, but where in the dawn of the twentieth century a soldier named Peter Pieri discovered a seed to a sweet onion.  He brought that seed to Walla Walla, where Italian immigrants nurtured it and perfected it, making the famous onions for which Walla Walla is famous.  (We have to apologize for the constant references we're making to the town of Walla Walla.  We're on our seventh mention of Walla Walla now.  No, make that the eighth.  It's just such a fun name!)

Anyway, by 1915, Walla Walla (nine) became famous for their sweet onions, which are still produced in the region and still very popular and, word has it, delicious!  We will take a quote directly from Joe J. Locati, who wrote on www.narhist.ewu.edu, a website dedicated to sharing the story of Walla Walla (ten):  "The onion's sweetness and mildness - many other varieties are sweet but not necessarily mild - is enhanced by its naturally low volatile-sulfur content.  And its succulence comes from its own nature, the rich, loam soil - and the Walla Walla growers' techniques. There is no other onion quite like it that I know of.  And connoiseurs agree."  
QUESTION:  What other community is famous for their sweet onions?
A)  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
B)  Vidalia, Georgia
C)  Greensborough, Tennessee
D)  Bakersfield, California

ALL HAIL NEW JERSEY!  We know it.  New Jersey gets a bad rap.  Northern Jersey is highly industrialized an has the propensity to smell that way.  Southern Jersey is farmland and pine barrens that can seem a little ... isolated.  Well, on this day in 1787, the entire state population agreed that it would be a good idea to accept the newly-devised U.S. Constitution and ratified it, becoming the third state to officially join the union.  (And no, there is no coincidence between discussing onions and joining a union.  They just sound similar.)

GO CICELY.  Turning an impressive 92 years old today is award-winning actress Cicely Tyson. Born in Harlem, New York City, on this day in 1924, Tyson's natural beauty was discovered by a professional photographer while she was in her twenties.  From there she entered the stage, performing on television and in cinema.  She has won numerous Emmy Awards, and been nominated for Oscars.  She most recently received high accolades for the 2011 film The Help, and seems unlikely to slow down any time soon.

QUOTE:  Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. - Cicely Tyson

ANSWER:  B)  Vidalia, Georgia, of course!