We learned that the Old Believers are Russians whose ancestors left their country when the Russian Orthodox Church started practicing new ways about 300 years ago. The Old Believers wanted to keep practicing their religion as they always had, in the old way. As far as the onions, they are a traditional crop for these people and we saw people out tending their fields. Fish and onions are a staple of their diet but they also sell the onions in larger nearby towns.
I had gotten recommendations from Signe, an Estonian friend, for places to visit as we traveled through Eastern Estonia. We made many stops along the way as we traveled north, visiting an old cemetery in Kallaste for a beautiful view out over Lake Peipsi, a handicraft shop in Avinurme that featured lovely and functional wooden items, and an Orthodox convent in Kuremäe. The convent and grounds were enchanting and Kuremäe was definitely a highlight.
Kuremäe Convent and Grounds
Here's looking at you, Russia