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“The Onion Jonnhies”: meet the Breton men who grow onions worth £10 a kilo

In a humble village near Roscoff, Brittany, François Seité continues a long tradition of onion farming

By Wendell Steavenson   October 2017

In 1828, Henri Ollivier set off from his farm in Brittany with a cartload of artichokes to sell in Paris. The roads were so bad it took him three months to get to the capital. Hmm, thought Ollivier, whose farm was close to the port of Roscoff, if not by road, then perhaps by sea? He chartered a boat loaded it with pink onions. Onions, thought the enterprising Ollivier, lasted longer than artichokes. He landed in Plymouth, a town bustling with labourers. They needed fresh food; onions were a good source…

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