Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Where are the Onions?

Illustration by Mikayla Kelly

The moment a box of sweet onions arrived at my doorstep, seconds after I enrolled at Whitman, it felt like a sign that I was exactly where I belonged. As the scent of sweet onions filled my house and their skin shed all over, and with my mailbox overflowing with sweet onion-themed pins, stickers, and brochures, I realized that they would become the most symbolic aspect of my college experience.

But now I’m here, and for some reason, they are not.

I’ve driven from Walla Walla to Seattle and back, and then to Portland and back again, but I still haven’t come across any sweet onions. I haven’t caught their scent; I haven’t seen them in any trucks, or fields, or orchards. I’m not even sure where onions grow because I haven’t seen any.

The only time I thought I might have seen sweet onions was when I passed by Grill in Cleve and noticed a bowl of onions on the counter. However, after inquiry, I discovered that they were merely for decoration, and they weren’t even sweet––they were red onions. 

It’d been so long since I laid eyes on sweet onions, I couldn’t even tell the difference.

Facing utter desperation, I resorted to asking my AI, pleading for any shred of information on where the onions were.

Me: Where are the onions?

ChatGPT: I’m sorry, I’m not sure what you’re asking. Could you please provide more context or clarify your question? 

Me: Where are the onions?

ChatGPT: I apologize for any confusion. Onions are commonly found in grocery stores, markets, and kitchens around the world. 


ChatGPT: I’m sorry for any confusion. Onions are typically found in the fresh produce section of these stores, often displayed alongside other vegetables. 


ChatGPT: Walla Walla sweet onions are primarily grown in Walla Walla County in Washington State, USA. These onions are typically available in the summer months, from June to August.

I am appalled. 

The fact that sweet onions, the very essence of Whitman’s pride and their tool for honing in students, are grown only during the three months out of the year when we aren’t here is fucked. I’m reeling in disbelief, debating whether to sacrifice time with my family in exchange for the limited space and excessive temperatures of Walla Walla just to reunite with these onions.

Actually, as I write this, I’m realizing that that option doesn’t seem so bad, as long as I get to take a bite out of an onion.

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