Westport65

The Seed Huntress

SEFRAALEXANDRA, THE SEED HUNTRESS PHOTO BY JONATHAN R.BECKERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY

The Southport Globe Onion Initiative By Sefra Alexandra Welcoming an heirloom back to its home soils

I would like to welcome you all back to 1800s Fairfield County, CT. An agrarian era, where the clip-clop of horses’ hooves and the wooden wheels of carriages could be heard throughout the hills, valleys and fields from Greenfield Hill in Fairfield to Sasco Hill and the coastal plains of Greens Farms in Westport. The lands were abuzz with pollinators and produce–all in cultivation of a once famous and rather delicious Southport Globe Onion. The history of these splendid fertile soils harkens back to the caretaking and stewardship since time immemorial by the Paugussett Golden Hill tribe. They called this territory Machamux : The Beautiful Land. The Long Island Sound sheltered some of the most prolific oyster beds in New England, the deer and wildlife were

abundant feeding on the mass of acorns from the ancient oaks along the coast. In 1648 the original Bankside Farmers followed the cattle trails from Fairfield, settling on the plots between Burial Hill and Frost Point in Greens Farms, Connecticut. The five original farmers: Thomas Newton, Henry Gray, John Green, Daniel Frost, Francis Andrews and their wives and children–all friends from the Bankside area of London, England–began to put these lands into cultivation; the very soils where I was born and raised. Over the next two hundred years this area became famous for its prolific agricultural production and innovations. By the mid 1700s an onion variety originally from England, first planted in the Connecticut Mill River Valley, was brought to Southport by a few intrepid farmers:

The Banks, Burr, Hull, Jennings, Meeker, Sherwood and Wakeman families. Together they collectively selected the seed of what would become the renowned Allium cepa : Southport Globe Onion heirloom. The red, white and yellow long (120) day varieties were celebrated for their flavor, storage ability and beautiful firm fleshed, medium sized globe-shaped appearance. The farmers’ careful selections and cultivation strategies were matched by innovative minds that pioneered new machine inventions that facilitated more rapid planting and cultivation of onion crops. The local Southport C. O. Jelliff & Co. sold these newly trademarked tools in their catalog, which also humbly promoted their seed “known to every seedsman in the country by its superiority over every other known variety...” Everyone in the area was

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