August 2009

Washington Blackberries

Washington, it seems to me, is a state that is largely held together

by blackberry vines. I strongly suspect that it is the tensile strength of the native wild blackberry vines that has forestalled the frequently predicted earthquake. Everywhere you look—on the edges of roads and highways, your neighbor's back fence, the hedges on either side of local bike paths—there are lush, enormous blackberry vines. Often, if you're lucky, the vines are heavy with fruit. We've been watching the local blackberry herds, waiting for that brief perfect moment of ripeness, and I think we're there. Tomorrow, we'll be going berrying. I'll be wearing jeans and a long-sleeved shirt to ward off the also very large and numerous prickers and thorns.

Walla Walla Sweet Onions

Walla Walla onions are a natural variety of sweet white onions. The original seed

for the onions was brought to Walla Walla in the late 1800s by a French soldier named Peter Pieri, who obtained the seeds of an Italian variety of sweet onion while in Corsica. He planted the seeds, and the onions proved sweet, and impressively winter hardy, that Pieri and other farmers continued to harvest and plant the variety. Over time, the onion growers hand selected the seeds for the largest, sweetest, and roundest onions, until Walla Walla onions emerged as a known and sought after variety.