Monday, July 22, 2013

Curing Onions

Our onions began their life as transplants from Johnnys’s Selected Seeds. We bought these “sets” instead of starting them ourselves in our own greenhouse in order to get an extra early jump on the season. They were transplanted in the ground on March 26th, one of the first crops to go in the ground in the spring. Recently their tops started to turn brown and become weak, which is an indication the onions are mature and finished growing. On Saturday, the Beginning Farmers (see newsletter #8) harvested all the onions and began the curing process.  It is important to harvest onions on a dry day, so they are not wet at the beginning of the curing process (wetness encourages disease and rotting). Curing seals the exterior of the onion, such that it can be preserved at room temperature and does not need to be refrigerated. Fresh onions need to be refrigerated. Curing consists of exposing the onions to warm, dry temperatures for a few days, until the outside is dry and flaky. This year we are growing fewer onions than in the past because our onion order under-filled from Johnny’s. However, the smaller onion area meant that they were easier to maintain (onions are notoriously weedy and difficult to maintain because the above ground part of the plant is so small), and I must say, these are some of the most beautiful onions this farm has ever seen! Assuming the curing process goes well (and there is limited rotting, which is common in the curing process), everyone should be enjoying onions in the next few weeks!

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