Longtime onion farmer Russ Kowal of Pine Island and a few of his workers use onion toppers to cut onion flowers off their stalks on a Friday afternoon in September along Pulaski Highway. The flowers contain small pods that hold six onion seeds each. The workers carry the flowers in burlap bags to a nearby barn, where they’ll leave them to dry out for two weeks. When they’re dry, the pods will go into a separating machine that shakes loose the seeds. The seeds that Kowal harvests this season will be enough to plant three fields in the black dirt region next year.
Photos by Robert Breese