Chicory, Variegata di Castelfranco (Organic)
Cichorium intybus. Loose heading type. 70 days.
Chicories are becoming more popular in the Pacific Northwest with castelfranco and sugarloaf leading the charge. Why? Because they’re delicious! Variegata di Castelfranco is a big heading chicory with lots of bright colors, mostly green with red speckles. If planted in July or early August, it will head up for winter. If planted late, it can still be harvested as a loose head. If dug and forced, it creates a beautiful white and pink head similar to radicchio. A winter CSA staple because it is hardier than most other Cichorium varieties. Another great variety for winter salads or used in risotto.
Sow indoors with good potting soil February through September. Transplant into the garden 3-4 weeks after sprouting. In our area, chicory can grow through the winter without protection but is best when sown in June or July for this purpose. Alternatively, direct sow March through August.
Collect seeds from 10 or more plants in second year when seeds have dried down. Cut whole plants, place on tarp, then dance and stomp to free the seed. Or place dry plants on tarps and drive on them. Screen and winnow to clean. Isolate from other Cichorium sp. by ½ mile.