An article in Heated, by Kristy Mucci, “A Chicory to Dismantle Late-Stage Capitalism” presents radicchio in a very interesting new light. Radicchio, a cool-weather crop, could be the answer to extending farmers’ market crops into the cold seasons and provide an alternative to shipping up salad greens grown in the deserts of California and Arizona. The salad green industry is not only taking away from the local markets, it is ‘emptying the Colorado River before it even reaches the ocean’. Radicchio could be one of the solutions to dismantling an unsustainable agricultural food system driven by capitalism as it, “localizes and decentralizes the power of the salad industry, it’s also delicious,” says Chandler Briggs of Hayshaker Farm in Walla Walla, Washington.
We are trialing radicchio in this year’s Canadian Organic Vegetable Improvement (CANOVI) variety trials due to its increasing popularity, ability to grow well in cold conditions, winter availability, promotion of low input agriculture, and re-localization of food production. We were initially inspired by an engaging Vancouver Radicchio Festival in 2019, which fingers crossed may be happening again in some form or another. Radicchio is a member of the chicory family, growing September through March, depending on how cold your region gets. In the 2020 CANOVI Radicchio trial, we have 44 farms participating through 8 provinces from British Columbia to New Brunswick.
We are focusing on four main market classes this year which are: