The greatest virtue of man is perhaps curiosity ~Anatole France~


The Passing of a Legend.

"Cultures grow on the vine of tradition"

Jonah Goldberg


Virgil Criscola was an impressive man.  He was a connoisseur of Walla Walla Sweet Onions, San Marzano tomatoes, dried salami, and he taught me and many others the intricacies of making traditional salsiccia italiana. Uncle Virgil was a technician in weights and measures; always being exact with his ingredients. He was detailed; his basement boasted spiral bound ledgers written in longhand, each one noting yields and sales transactions from his onion fields and roadside market.  He was a pioneer in making capocollo, dried salami, and fresh sausage alongside his friends and family in the Columbia Valley, and he was a steward of Italian heritage.

Uncle Virgil passed away at the ripe age of 88 on 12/21/2012.  He will be remembered this year at Cheney Farms as we take turns cranking the sausage press, sipping wine, and laughing at how magical the tradition of making sausage has become.  I guarantee there will be many toasts and I hope a few roasts to the man who made Abe Froman and Jimmy Dean look like a couple of hillbilly sausage makers.

May the cultural traditions that have been carried like a torch by so many continue through the vines of the Criscola, Pontarolo, Fazzari, Onley, Bloom, and Chase families.


(From the left) Kattie Ambrose, Tony Ambrose, Dorothy Criscola, and Virgil Criscola

In Memory Of:

Virgil Eugene Criscola (1924 - 2012)

Daniel Fox Onley (1944 - 2012)