Radicchio, Treviso Mesola (Organic)
Cichorium intybus. Tall heading type. 80 days.
Large heads have a deep red leaf color with crunchy white midribs. We have trialed dozens of radicchio varieties over the years and Treviso Mesola is a standout. Italians have many wonderful song-like names for vegetables. This variety is sometimes referred to by its long name, Radicchio Treviso Precoce Mesola. ‘Treviso,’ meaning the tall elliptic radicchio types originating in Treviso, Italy. ‘Precoce,’ meaning early maturing or precocious, and ‘Mesola’ is the selection name made by the Italian seed company T & T. The superb flavor of radicchio’s fresh bittersweet zing combines amazingly well with grated hard cheese, vinaigrette and the classic Italian salty anchovy. Bitter taste becomes much more mild when first soaked in cold water before serving or when lightly cooked and added to a dish like risotto. Sow in July for October harvest. Later plantings are often successful due to this variety’s strong frost resistance, but may not head up as well.
Seed produced by Avoca in Corvallis, Oregon.
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.