All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

Wild onion dinners bring in Oklahoma’s spring season

Cherokee Township website
A typical wild onion dinner includes scrambled eggs with onions and cornbread or frybread.
Fertile Ground Compost Service
Help support Red Dirt Report

LOCUST GROVE, Okla. – Spring begins this Friday, March 20, and with it you may have already been seeing—or more likely—smelling the return of this season. Wild onions are one of the harbingers of spring, and the wild onion dinner is a social event that happens primarily with Native American churches and families throughout Oklahoma.

Such groups as the Indian Women’s Club of Tulsa and the Bartlesville Indian Women’s Club have been having wild onion dinners and festivals for decades. This will be the 63rd year the Bartlesville group has held a festival to celebrate the sensational allium vineale.

Typically the onions are served sautéed with scrambled eggs. Wild onions are generally much smaller than the green onions you find in the grocery store, so they take quite a bit of time to prepare. However, most wild onion fans think they are worth it.

In a rural area west of Locust Grove, Iron Post, many people find the onions and also mushrooms at this time of year, but when asked, as I did, Jennifer Henson, who lives in the area, said, “Most folks don’t divulge their honey holes.”

Henson also commented that if she had a batch of the onions, she would put them in her mother’s recipe for corn fritters. Other ways the onions are used or dishes they are served with include poke salad, pork and frybread.

In a recent issue of The Moccasin, the Native American student newspaper at Bacone College, John Timothy, the college’s cultural interpreter, described how hunting wild onions with his father was a life lesson for him. His father taught him that searching for wild onions took time and that you had to sometimes overturn rocks and logs and to avoid mistaking wild garlic for onions. He said his father said, “You have to search for wild onions and pull them out one by one, but they are sweet.”

Timothy said the lesson was that “the good friends, words, possessions we seek must be searched for patiently and chosen carefully if you want the sweeter things in life.”

The following dates and places show where you might attend a wild onion dinner in Oklahoma. The dinners range in price from $5 to $10.

March 21

  • Big Cussetah United Methodist Church, southeast of Okmulgee, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Tulsa Indian UMC, 1911 N. College, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Mary Lee Clark UMC, 1100 Howard Dr., Midwest City, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Thlopthlocco UMC, south of Okemah, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Haikey Chapel Wild Onion Dinner, 8815 E. 101st, Tulsa, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

March 27

  • Sulphur Springs UMC, south of Bennington, 5:30 p.m.

March 28

  • Concharty UMC, north of Bixby, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Norman First American UMC, 1950 Beaumont Dr., Norman, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Broken Arrow UMC, 20584 E. 141st St., 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Bartlesville Indian Woman’s Club, Washington County Fairgrounds, Dewey, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

April 4

  • Springfield UMC, south of Okemah, 11 a.m.

The Bartlesville Indian Women’s Club uses this wild onion recipe if you want to make them at home: Clean the onions. Beat the eggs well and mix them with the onions. Add seasoning. Heat bacon drippings at low heat and pour in the mixture and scramble slowly and gently. Serve hot.

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About the Author

Shaun Perkins

Shaun Perkins is a writer, teacher and poet and now a contributing writer for Red Dirt Report....

read more

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

Member of the Oklahoma Press Association
Member of Investigative Reporters & Editors
Member of Diversity Business Association
Member of Uptown 23rd
Rotary Club of Bricktown OKC
Keep it Local OK