S.S. Legacy Cruise: Walla Walla sweet onions a tasty part of shore excursion

Sold at Fort Walla Walla Museum, these local mustards featured famed Wall Wall sweet onions.
Sold at Fort Walla Walla Museum, these local mustards featured famed Wall Wall sweet onions.

ABOARD THE S. S. LEGACY I’m not much for buying souvenirs. After years as a travel writer, my home already has enough stuff. Plus I have tons of notebooks, photos, memories and articles written to remind me of where I’ve been.

But after tasting Walla Walla Sweet Onion Mustard at Fort Walla Walla Museum, I knew a jar would not last long in my house. Other passengers from the S.S. Legacy also were buying the tasty treat when our ship stopped for a tour of the museum.

“Walla Walla is known for growing sweet onions,” said museum docent Bryce Abraham. “The mustard sells very well here.”

As a museum volunteer, Abraham is spending this day passing out samples of the mustard on crackers in the museum gift shop. The mustard comes in many varieties – red bells, roasted garlic, horseradish, smoky bacon, chipotle, white wine, red ale beer and much more.

Volunteer docent Bryce Abraham helps visitors sample mustard.
Volunteer docent Bryce Abraham helps visitors sample mustard.

“I like them all,” Abrahams said, squirting a taste of whole seed mustard on a cracker for me to try. “At home, we eat the mustard on crackers, on cheese and on sandwiches.”

Seems the company was started by a woman, Alice Jones, who began selling her products at the nearby Pasco Farmer’s Market. That is where she began acquiring the fresh produce used in her business, AJ’s Edible Arts.

To celebrate its sweet onion heritage, Walla Walla has an annual Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival. This year’s event, the 30th anniversary of the festival, will take place June 21 and 22 in downtown Walla Walla. Along with plenty of onion products, the festival includes a fun run, classic car show, grape stomp competition, beauty pageant, beer and wine garden, cooking contests, art show, motorcycle poker run, concert series and other events.

I’d like to be there to see one special contest – the Walla Walla sweet onion eating competition. Sounds like that could be quite exciting.

Here’s a recipe that Abraham shared for the mustard I bought:

AJ’s Honey Mustard Dressing

  • 2/3 cup Walla Walla Sweet Onion Whole Seed Mustard
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Mix well and refrigerate for use on salad or vegetables.

June 3, 2014

Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch

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