Welcome to Brow Farm were we hope to show you some of the fresh vegetables, salads and root crops grown at Brow Farm. Why not have a look around this web site to see how we grow some of the food that ends up on your table. (Potatoes, carrots, wheat, lettuce, leeks, cabbage, onions, barley, broccoli, cauliflower, barley, oats, wheatgrass) and much more.
 
 
Onion Field
Onion Recipes

WHAT ARE ONIONS?

Onions are bulbs. The bulb is formed of hollow leaves, thickened into 1.5 to 5mm fleshy layers which overlap. Bulb skins are yellow, white or red and range in size from 6 to 14cm in diameter. Onions have become overwhelming, not only because there are so many kinds, but also because the categories are arbitrary. Should onions be grouped by color (Red, Yellow White, Green)? Or by shape (Round, Oval, Slender)? Or by personality traits (Sweet, Assertive, Tear-jerker)? Or should we invent yet another category, say Rollability? This would probably serve most purposes as well as any other, and it provides a practical method of distinguishing a scallion from a baseball shaped yellow globe. Most experts agree that the taste of onions depends on growing conditions, the sulphur content of the soil and the weather: type, appearance, size and shape give few clues to quality.

WHERE ARE ONIONS FROM?

Since the beginning of civilization, onions have been an important part of our diet. Once believed to be a lowly vegetable because of its pungent taste, the onion has emerged as a favourite ingredient in many recipes. Onions add flavour to an otherwise bland dish and turn an average meal into an elegant dinner. Onion lovers around the world have found that this versatile vegetable can be grilled, sautéed, pickled, boiled, baked, fried... the list is endless!

The history of the onion is an interesting story. The onion is believed to have originated in Asia, though it is likely that onions may have been growing wild on every continent. Dating back to 3500 BC, onions were one of the few foods that did not spoil during the winter months. Our ancestors must have recognized the vegetable’s durability and began growing onions for food.

The onion became more than just food after arriving in Egypt. The ancient Egyptians worshipped the onion, believing that its spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized eternity. Of all the vegetables that had their images created from precious metals by Egyptian artists, only the onion was made out of gold. What a prestigious honour for a vegetable with such a humble beginning!

The popularity of the onion eventually carried it into ancient Greece where athletes consumed large quantities because it would “lighten the balance of the blood”. After Rome conquered Greece, the onion became a staple in the Roman diet. Gladiators were rubbed down with onion juice to “firm up the muscles”.

As onions expanded into other areas of the world, they continued to be more than just food. During the Middle Ages, physicians prescribed onions to alleviate headaches, snakebites, and even hair loss. Onions, valued as both medicine and food, traveled with the Puritans who settled in the New World.

Today, onions continue to be an important part of our diet. The National Cancer Institute has reported that onions contain antioxidants that help block cancer and appear to lower cholesterol. Apparently, our ancestors weren’t too far off in believing that the onion is much more than a lowly vegetable.

WHERE ARE ONIONS PRODUCED IN UK?

Onions are grown in all the major farming areas in the UK.

HOW MANY ONIONS DO WE PRODUCE?

UK grows about _____ million kilograms of onions.

HOW ARE ONIONS PRODUCED?

Seeds are planted in mid-August, for over-winter onions, or in mid-April for spring-seeded onions. Seeding is done with a precision seeder. Seed is drilled to a depth a 2.5cm. A precision seeder allows the seed to be planted a uniform distance apart. This helps produce an even-sized crop with higher yield and fewer culls. Onions are shallow-rooted and need a constant supply of moisture. Once onions reach their mature size they are harvested by machine.

WHAT DOES AN ONION LOOK LIKE WHEN I USE IT?

Most onions are grown to a mature size before they are used. Others are harvested when they are small and both the green tops and small bulbs are used, often in salads. Onions are used primarily as a condiment, or a seasoning for food. They are added to soups, stews, sauces and stir fries. Some of the milder onions are eaten raw in salads. Onions are a common addition to pickles and relishes. Onions contain vitamin A and C, phosphorus and potassium.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE ONIONS LEAVE THE FARM?

Before onions can be put into storage they must be cured. Curing is the process of allowing the onion to dry thoroughly. Onions are lifted by a mechanical digger and left to dry on the field. An onion is cured when its neck is tight and its outer scales are dry. Cured onions are harvested into bulk trucks and transferred to temperature and humidity controlled storage. It is important not to store other fruits or vegetables near onions or they may pick up the characteristic smell of onions.

WHAT CHALLENGES DOES THE ONION PRODUCER FACE?

Onion production is subject to a wide array of pests. One of the problems that onion growers face is from the onion maggot. Small, greyish flies lay eggs at the base of plants. These larvae, called maggots, feed in the onion bulbs. They can kill young plants or cause misshapen bulbs and rotting. Growers use Integrated Pest Management to control this pest. If onion maggots are suspected, growers can monitor for the flies using white sticky traps which have proven effective in detecting the onion maggot fly. Only if a certain threshold level is reached, as determined through monitoring, do growers use insecticide sprays. Growers also face the challenge of competition from Europe.

WHO'S INVOLVED IN PRODUCING ONIONS?

Onion farmer
Agribusiness suppliers (pesticides, fertilizer, fuel)
Seed supplier
Farm machinery supplier

 

Nutritional Facts

Calorie Content

36kcals/100g (raw) Onion.

Nutritional Value/ 100 grams Onions raw

 

Serving Size: 1 medium onion (148g)
Calories 60 Calories from Fat 0
Water 130g % Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.3g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 5mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fibre 3g 12%
Sugars 9g  
Protein 2g  
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 20%
Calcium 4% Iron 2%
Vitamin E 0.31milligrams Vitamin B 0.33 milligrams
Folate 17 micrograms  
Iron 0.3 milligrams  
Dietary Fibre 2.0 Grams  
Niacin 0.7 milligrams  
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Interesting Fact About Onions:

The distinctive, pungent flavour of onions comes from sulphurous, volatile oils contained in the vegetable.


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