, Farm Journal Seeds & Production Editor
Any way you slice it, the concept of the EverMild onion is just plain sweet. This winter Monsanto Company is teaming up with Schnucks grocery store chain to bring St. Louis consumers this new onion innovation. The onion is naturally sweeter than garden variety yellow onions, but the biggest news is the levels of the enzyme that causes tearing when slicing or cutting the onion are muted.
You may be familiar with the sweet Vidalia onion, but it arrives on the grocery shelf in April. The new EverMild is domestically grown to be available in the fall and winter months—a time when there's a gap in the domestic sweet onion market.
Monsanto spokesperson Danielle Stuart explains that EverMild is a new version of a long-day yellow onion. Long-day yellow onions traditionally have a pungent bite and are produced in the summer in the northern United States where they can get 14 to 16 hours of sunlight per day.
The EverMild is being grown in the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington where the dry climate and sandy, low sulphur soils are optimal for growing sweet onion. Growing them close to the market avoids transportation delays and allows the onions to arrive fresher than if they were imported.
David Stark, Monsanto's vice-president of Consumer Traits, says the company's vegetable seed business developed the yellow EverMild onion using traditional plant breeding. Over the past few years Monsanto has acquired several companies to form a Vegetable Seeds Division focused improving the quality and productivity of vegetables and fruits.
The company breeds, produces and markets vegetable seeds for both open field crops and protected crops. Leading brands are De Ruiter Seeds, Seminis, Western Seed and Peotec Seeds. In Europe the company has debuted tomatoes and broccoli with better taste and enhanced nutrition and health. The aim is to reduce the need for chemical crop protection by breeding for natural resistance and increase productivity and yield. For more information visit www.monsanto.com