Sweet Imperial - California
Availability: late April through June.
Grown below sea level in the rich, loamy, desert soil of Southern California's Imperial Valley, where ideal growing conditions produce large, mild, juicy onions. The high moisture and sugar content is the result of the location where they are produced.
In order for an onion to be called a Sweet Imperial, it must be yellow, globe-shaped, and a minimum of 2 1/2 inches in diameter - and be very sweet.
The late Dr. Henry Jones is credited with being the first person to hybridize the flat Bermuda and the top-shaped grano into a new onion he called the Granex. It was a deeper shaped onion, with sweetness, and a longer shelf-life in markets.
When Dr. Jones retired from the USDA, he joined the research staff of a seed company in the Imperial Valley and continued to develop new varieties, many of which are grown today to produce the Sweet Imperial onion.
If you happen to be in Southern California in the spring, be sure to check out the Imperial Sweet Onion Festival held each April.
For more information, contact:
Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers