In the late 1800s, Peter Pieri, a French soldier, brought Italian sweet onion seeds from the Island of Corsica (off the west coast of Italy) when he immigrated to the Walla Walla Valley. (The name "Walla Walla" is a Native American term meaning "Many Waters.) Pieri and his neighbors were impressed by the onions' sweetness and ability to survive in the winter and carefully selected and planted only the best seed to achieve maximum size, shape, and wonderful sweetness.
Walla Walla sweet onions have been hand-harvested for many generations and are planted in carefully selected soils in the Walla Walla Valley of Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon. A Federal Marketing Order was established in 1995, specifying the Walla Walla Valley as the only region authorized to grow the Walla Walla Sweet Onion.
Some Walla Walla onions are planted in September or October, then hibernate through the winter and resume growth in the spring, while others are planted in the spring (March - April) for July - August harvest. Walla Walla growers have planted approximately 1,100 acres this year in the Valley.
Walla Walla onions are round, with an elongated neck and dry, paper-thin skin. They tend to be large in size, weighing up to two pounds. Growers use current scientific horticultural practices to plant these sweet onions in this region's unique combination of rich volcanic soil and a mild year-round climate. Onions grown in the Walla Walla Valley have half the sulfur of an ordinary yellow onion, making the taste sweeter and more pleasant to the palette. Our Walla Walla Sweets are a good source of Vitamin C, are sodium and cholesterol free, and are low in calories!