WAIMEA — Basilio “Bunga” Fuertes, a Waimea High School instructor in agriculture, is helping grow a whole lot of onions with his students.
And anybody who wants to pick up the starts and grow the delicious Yellow Granex onions at home can swing by and pick them up.
“The students at Waimea plant the seeds and when they’re ready, we distribute them, free,” Fuertes said. “We were trying to do it for the farm fair, but they weren’t quite ready. We just tell people ‘don’t bring ‘em home for the saimin.’ And when they’re growing, don’t put dirt over the developing bulb.”
The plot of land where Fuertes and his students grow the crop is in Kekaha provided by Syngenta Seeds.
On Saturday, Fuertes was in front of the Waimea branch of First Hawaiian Bank handing out starts and offering growing instructions to anyone who wanted them.
“My eggplant does well,” said Juanita Jacinto, who picked up some starts at the bank and is trying her hand at cultivating the bulb onion for the first time. “I hope the onions do well, too.”
Described as a “short day” onion because it matures during the short days of fall, winter and early spring, Yellow Granex is one of the seeds Fuertes received from seed company on the Mainland.
Fuertes said he’s been doing the free onion distributions with Jeff Emoto for more than 10 years.
“During those days, we had a lot in Kekaha where we used to grow the onions,” Fuertes said. “When the lot got sold, Syngenta Seeds offered to plant the seeds for us.”
Kaneko said for people interested in getting the Yellow Granex starts, approximately 35 in a package, they can call 337-1408.