Escarole, Cardoncella Barese (Organic)

Cichorium endivia. 55-65 days.

Sweet dandelion greens! Cardoncella Barese is a variety distinct from other escaroles, as leaves are long and serrated like a giant dandelion green. Tall leaves can reach 18″ long. When we were market farmers, we offered them by the bunch as ‘sweet dandelion greens’ with rave reviews from our CSA members. Most Italian dandelion greens are of the chicory species but this is not. Its endive nature lends Cardoncella Barese a delightfully sweet flavor lacking in most chicory (though there is still a mild bitterness). Surprisingly winter hardy. Great all year-round. Slow to bolt, however it will benefit from succession sowing as it is an annual. Italian regional specialty originally from Bari in Apulia, Italy. Translated, the name means ‘little cardoon.’ Produces many side branches when bolting, and these stems are a nice crunchy, mildly bitter vegetable in their own right, like a celtuce of the escarole world or a lazy person’s puntarelle. Much better and easier to grow than cardoon in our opinion, but nothing against cardoon!


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Geographical Origin

Sow indoors with good potting soil February through September. Transplant into the garden about 3-4 weeks after sprouting. In our region, endive can grow through the winter without protection, but is best sown in June or July for this purpose. Alternatively, direct sow March through August.

Seed Saving

Collect seeds from 5 or more plants when seeds have dried down. Cut whole plants, place on tarp, dance and stomp to free the seeds. Collect seeds from tarp, winnow to clean. Isolate by 50′ from other Cichorium sp.

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