Onion Day To Be Held In St. David’s On May 23

May 9, 2015

The island will be celebrating “Bermuda Onion Day” on Saturday, May 23 from 10.00am to 4.00pm at Carter House in St. David’s.

The event will include a farmer’s stand, St. David’s fare, and a cooking demonstration by Joe Gibbons. The St. David’s calendar for 2016 will be on sale for $15 each, less an Onion Day discount of $3, making them $12 per calendar during Onion Day.

Proceeds will benefit the St. David’s Island Historical Society.

Slideshow of Onion Day 2014 with photos courtesy of Rick Spurling:

Introduced to the island in the early 1600s, the sweet and succulent Bermuda onion was first exported to the east coast from St. George’s in 1847.

Onions quickly became Bermuda’s major export crop, with hundreds of farmers realising the market potential. By the middle of the 19th century, Bermudians became known as “Onions” and Bermuda itself was widely referred to as ‘The Onion Patch.’

Following World War I, although the onion export from Bermuda started again, the United States imposed higher import duties, slowing it down considerably. Moreover, by then a farming community in the Texas started developing their own onions, even calling them Bermuda Onions to sell and export them more easily.

In the 1930s, the Bermuda Trade Development Board tried to curb the trend by sending postcards to their overseas buyers that stated, “It is the flavour of a genuine ‘Bermuda’ that is so different.”

But it was an exercise in futility and the era of Bermuda farmers exporting onions came to an end, with tourism replacing agriculture as the island’s economic mainstay. However the “Bermuda Onion” nickname endures.

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  1. mj says:

    Texas today has the leading vegetable crop of the “Bermuda ONion” and reaps 70-100 million$$$$$per year and 350million for the economy..The Bermuda onion was introduced into South texas 1898 and 500 acres were plantd in 1904 and doubled in four years!! they call it the onion that came to texas but never left the same… Is Bermuda reaping any benefits from this crop?