Strawberries and Maui Onions

What could the two of these possibly have in common, Maui onions and strawberries? It makes me think of the silly jokes my 6-year-old makes up, “Mom, why did the strawberry go out with the onion? So it could be stinky!” At which point, we are obliged to make a big show of laughing, which isn’t hard for me, because I do think she is quite amusing. But in the interest of food and farming, they say everything that grows together, goes together, and strawberries and Maui onions seem like a laughable match.

Last summer, when Bella and I visited Tanaka Farms for their strawberry tour, we found out just how well the two crops grow together. You see, Maui onions are planted with the strawberry plants to keep critters from eating the sweet fruit. The noxious smell of the onion naturally repels them, in place of using a chemical pesticide. Isn’t that brilliant? As it turns out, there are some very yummy ways to enjoy the two crops together.

Strawberry and Maui Onion Salsa

1 pint strawberries, diced

1 cup diced Maui onion

1 serrano chile, seeds and membranes removed, diced

1/4 cup fresh mint, stems removed, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 lemon, zested and juiced

Kosher salt and black pepper

Combine the strawberries, onions, chile, mint, olive oil, vinegar, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium-sized bowl. Stir and adjust seasoning, if needed. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours, and serve with grilled fish, chicken or pork.

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