The Walla Walla Sweet Onion story began nearly a century ago on the Island of Corsica, off the west coast of Italy. It was there that a French soldier, Peter Pieri, found a sweet onion seed and brought it to Walla Walla in the late 1800’s. At the time, Italian immigrant gardeners comprised the core of Walla Walla’s gardening industry, and several were Pieri’s neighbors. Impressed by the new onion’s winter hardiness, they and Pieri harvested the seed.
This “French” onion developed over several generations through the process of carefully hand selecting onions from each year’s crop, ensuring exceptional sweetness, jumbo size, and round shape. Today’s growers realize they’re not just raising sweet onions, but cultivating a tradition.