Forcing Belgian Endive and Treviso Radicchio in The Upper Midwest

Project Overview

FNC20-1251
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2020: $4,945.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Waxwing Farm
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Peter Skold
Waxwing Farm

Commodities

  • Vegetables: Chicory - Radicchio and Endive

Practices

  • Crop Production: season extension types and construction
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research
  • Farm Business Management: farm-to-restaurant, new enterprise development, value added
  • Production Systems: Forcing

    Proposal summary:

    Season extension is an important practice on vegetable farms in Minnesota. By lengthening the growing season, farmers can extend their sales into winter when cash flow would otherwise cease. High tunnels and root crops are the preferred method, but these options have limitations. Leafy greens from unheated hoop houses are in high demand, but they do not regrow during the dead of winter, thereby limiting harvests. Conversely, root crops are relatively easy to grow and store but are low margin crops necessitating high volume customers. For smaller farms selling through lower volume outlets like CSAs, restaurants, and farmers markets, this poses a problem.

    Forced radicchio and endive could solve this problem. Radicchio and endive are high-value specialty crops that require being dug from the field and forced indoors, without sunlight. They are harvested at the end of the growing season and forced in the winter months. They could offer a high-value, high-margin crop to make lower volume winter sales more lucrative.

    This project will evaluate the feasibility of radicchio and endive as season extension crops in Minnesota. Results will be shared through our farm’s social media outlets, our local Sustainable Farming Association chapter’s annual meeting, and written publications.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Evaluate the feasibility of growing both Treviso radicchio and Belgian endive in Minnesota.
    2. Compare different forcing techniques for both crops.
    3. Determine profitability of growing Belgian endive and radicchio.
    4. Share results with other MN vegetable farmers through social media, local Sustainable Farming Association (SFA) annual meeting, and University of Minnesota extension newsletter.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.