Noonday Onions Is Reason Alone to Travel to East Texas
A few days ago, I came across an article about the Noonday Sweet Onion Festival and thought, where did it go? It was such a popular festival, it was allegedly shut down because it couldn't meet the demands of festival-goers and the Sweet Onion Growers Association [KLTV].
But it should come back. Something that popular focused on a local product is great for Noonday and all of the cities surrounding it. Plus, where are ya gonna get your Noonday Onions? We're the only place you can find them!
Then I met Gunny Moore and Joe Tyner. About 8 years ago, the two began a tradition - buying a bunch of Noonday onions and then riding their motorcycles all the way up to Bluff, Missouri. The reason? Gunny's sister and family LOVE these onions and can't find them anywhere. So.. good friends and family to the rescue. They load up 20 to 25 pound bags of Noonday onions, jump on their bikes and ride.
Sandie Price, the receiver of said onions shared how it all started:
It all started when my younger brother, Gunny Moore, asked if there was anything that he could bring from Texas. Having previously tasted the Noonday onions, I asked if he could bring some with him. Well, little did I know that there would be a huge bag of onions on each of the bike (approximately 4 or 5 motorcycles!). We had onions to eat, onions to share, and onions to save for later! On a later trip we even received a cookbook from Noonday, Texas.
I guess you could call it 'bootlegging onions' even though it really isn't. It does have a sweet ring to it. Sweet like an onion...
Joel, a Tyler native, told me:
Gunny's sister and brother-in-law are the nicest people around. We quickly became close friends. When we head out there, they pull recipes from the Noonday Onion Cookbook and we eat Sweet Onion Pie, Onion Cake...
The rides are roughly 8 hours and about 500 miles one-way when they take a direct route. Sometimes they take the scenic route, because after all, they're on motorcycles.
It has become more of an expanded family tradition. Close friends and family ride up with onions and good vibes - everyone has a great time and delicious onions to munch on (I hear they're so sweet you can eat them raw!).
"I think it has something to do with the soil in Noonday from what I understand," said Joel.
The first ride 8 years ago included 4 bikes - each with a 20 to 25 pound bag. Since then there have been more on some occasions and less on others.
Even Johnny Fleming with Fleming Overhead in Brownsboro paid a trip and even installed a gate for them!
We have made great friends with those that have traveled hours to bring onions and share time together. On one such visit I spoke about not being able to find someone to install a gate on our fence to our farm. Well, they had a contact for us - Johnny Fleming with Fleming Overhead. Yes, you guessed it - Gunny made connections and before we knew it, Joel and Johnny Fleming (no Gunny this time!) ... came up and installed a gate!
The awesome moral of this story: food may bring us all together, but good people is what makes those times special.
Gunny and Joel are making their Noonday Onion Run at the crack of dawn before Memorial Day Weekend. The onions are perfect now through most of summer so grab one of our local gems while you can!