Food - Drink
Walla Walla Onions Didn't Originate In Washington State
Walla Walla is known throughout the Pacific Northwest as a prolific producer of Washington wines and is a three-time winner of the Best Wine Region in America award from USA Today. Besides wine, the area is also home to the Walla Walla onion, the official Washington State Vegetable; however, the onion isn’t actually native to Washington.
The Walla Walla onion once bore the name "French onion," but it didn’t come from France either; a French soldier named Peter Pieri scooped up an onion seed on Italy's island of Corsica in the late 1800s. He later landed in the Walla Walla Valley where he planted the seed and cultivated it with other Italian immigrants.
Per National Onion Association, the Walla Walla occupies only about 500 acres in Southeastern Washington and is tended by 20 farming families. The onions grow for roughly eight months, yielding large bulbs weighing as much as 2 lbs; their mild "no-tears" flavor comes from low sulfur levels, half as that of other onion varieties.