The Story of the Murphys’ Onion

We recently harvested our onion crop – a bumper crop this year and surprisingly so because we planted them in January. This incredible specimen is a true Murphys’ heirloom from the Vogliotti family. They were Italian market gardeners and also our neighbors for a good many years. It was one warm summer day, twenty year’s ago or so, that we went to visit Josephine Vogliotti. She was the last living member of her family at age 96 – her brother Ernie was 102 when he died

. The family was famous for their “vege-tables”, as she liked to say, selling them to the miners by horsecart in the day and later to folks that would come out to the ranch. For several years we’d been growing “their” tomato, the Camalay, and we would often bring her down a couple to enjoy and as always she would hold one in her hands and smell deeply, exclaiming “this is one of ours, isn’t it?” Those were precious moments and still today, after 22 years of growing and saving seed from that tomato, her words spring a tear. It was on one of these visits that Josephine directed us down to the cellar (where she hadn’t been for many years) to a jar on the shelf filled with onion seeds. We took those seeds home and germinated them just as she instructed (the first week after the full moon in August!). Luckily a few sprouted and that year we grew our first Vogliotti onion. After many trials and near losses, we were able to successfully bring this onion from near extinction to plenty. We have subsequently grown, harvested and shared many of the seeds with gardening friends to help preserve this now unique variety. The story goes that the onion was bought from Burpee seeds as a Red Weathersfield in the late 1890’s and continually grown at the ranch until the early 1990’s. They grew it for 100 years because of it’s flavor! We consider it be the best tasting summer onions ever. Eaten raw it is sweet and mild flavored, wonderfully so that it is perfect in a Greek salad or in a sandwich (with no oniony aftertaste!). Equally delicious sauteed or caramelized.
We posted a recipe to try it out on here

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