Championing Chicory

A couple of months ago I created an Indiegogo campaign for a project that Lane Selman, Shawn Linehan and I are doing. The crowd funding campaign through Indiegogo was my first direct insight into that platform and it was an interesting experiment in some ways – definitely successful in a lot of ways, but also possibly the wrong platform for the amount of time we had to commit to promoting the campaign. Now that the campaign has expired we’re still getting inquiries for how people can help support our work so I’m reposting most of the information from the campaign below. Donations can still be made through the PayPal link at the bottom of my pages here, with the same “thank yous” we gave on the Indiegogo campaign. Or, if you prefer to mail a check just send me an email and I’ll get you an invoice with the mailing address.

Please help support a small expedition of Pacific Northwest farmers and farm educators headed to northern Italy in January to learn more about both production methods and culinary uses for this quintessentially Italian crop, and to bring back that information for growers, cooks and eaters.

The Expedition is being organized and led by Italian farmer Myrtha Zierock of Foradori Winery and Farm in Mezzolombardo, Italy, and Lane Selman of the Culinary Breeding Network in Portland, Oregon. We will visit production farms, seed companies and radicchio breeders throughout the Veneto region for five days. The expedition will culminate in a public event and radicchio celebration called Giàz (meaning ‘ice’ in the Trentino dialect) at Foradori.

Outcomes will include articles, photographs, video and presentations for the public, all focused on increasing understanding of radicchio production and culinary usage. Information will be shared at the third annual Sagra di Radicchio event in Seattle, WA in 2020 which we hope to expand into a multi-day conference this coming year.

Sponsorship will help cover travel expenses and the development of educational materials for the primary documentarians on the trip: Lane Selman of The Culinary Breeding Network, Josh Volk of Slow Hand Farm Consulting, and Shawn Linehan of Shawn Linehan Photography.

Background – Radicchio is a cool season vegetable that originated and is still widely grown in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy, a climate of annual mean temperatures, and latitude very similar to those of the Pacific Northwest. It is a promising winter crop as it overwinters in the field and holds well in storage, providing a locally grown alternative to lettuce shipped from warmer regions during the colder months. Numerous farmers in Oregon and Washington are interested in growing radicchio, but have production questions on variety selection, seeding and transplanting timing, cultivation, harvest, forcing techniques and storage. Little of this detailed information is available in the US and the best way to acquire details by directly visiting the farmers growing these crops in Italy. An initial visit to radicchio seed breeders in 2014 was an invaluable introduction to many basics practices that were not commonly known in the US and this second trip will build on that information by visiting more growers in the region and documenting their practices.

According to growers in the northwest and northeastern US, radicchio demand has increased exponentially over the past decade and recent years. Local Roots Farm in Duvall, WA has reported a 900% increase over the last decade and a doubling in sales in the past year alone. Radicchio sales currently account for 12% of their total annual sales to restaurants, and they expect that growth to continue. Hayshaker Farm in Walla Walla, WA have seen sales increase 250% from 2017 to 2018 and they also see demand continuing to grow.

On the East coast, Kitchen Garden Farm in western Massachusetts has doubled sales in the last year with $30,000 in radicchio sales for 2018 making the crop a significant part of the farm income, not just something novel and fun. Since 2017, Kitchen Garden Farm has been primarily selling vegetables through distributors, and directly to stores and restaurants, in NYC, Boston, and Providence. More than 60% of their 2018 radicchio was sold to NYC through Natoora and Myers Produce.

In the US, the California-grown, round, red Chioggia type is the most commonly found radicchio on grocery store shelves. Pacific Northwest growers are producing a much wider variety of radicchio types including Treviso Precoce, Treviso Tardivo, Castelfranco, Lusia, Verona, Rose, Puntarelle, Grumolo and more. Each has a unique appearance, flavor, texture and culinary purpose. And each have their own set of growing methods which we hope to learn more about during the “Radicchio Expedition in Veneto, Italy 2020”.


The Culinary Breeding Network is an initiative created by Lane Selman with a mission to break down the walls between breeders and eaters to improve agricultural and culinary quality. Read more about the Network at


Shawn Linehan has been photographing small-scale farmers and seed breeders since 2008 and has photographed at all CBN’s Variety Showcases. Traveling twice to Japan with Stacey Givens of The Side Yard Farm & Kitchen sparked a desire to photograph more farming and seed breeding on an international level. Your support would help her to reach that goal and help document this important cultural and informational exchange that will benefit our community. See more photos at


Josh is vegetable farmer
and the author of the book “Compact Farms: 15 Proven Plans for Market Farms on 5 Acres or Less” from Storey Publishing. He has been a Slow Food member for more than 20 years, and is also involved with the Slow Tools movement which seeks to further Slow Food production through appropriate technology development and sharing. He currently farms
in Portland, Oregon at Cully Neighborhood Farm. You can learn more at

Where will you find the information that gets collected?
Articles, photographs, video and presentations for the public, all focused on increasing understanding of radicchio production and culinary usage will be published widely in journals and through the participants websites and social media. All information will also be shared at the third annual Sagra di Radicchio event in Seattle, WA in 2020 which we hope to expand into a multi-day conference this coming year.

How can you help spread the word?
Please share this campaign and the resulting photos and write ups widely through social media and other food and farming networks! We love radicchio and all chicories and think they deserve wider appreciation for their ecological, culinary, and cultural contributions.

Why do you keep mixing the terms chicory and radicchio?
Radicchio is a plant in the Chicorium genus, and is probably the best recognized example of that genus in the US and is just one of the cultivated crops in that genus that we’ll be researching. We’re loosely using the term “chicory” to signify cultivated crops of that genus and “radicchio” sneaks in there sometimes for greater general recognition.

Donation Thank Yous
(Shipping is only good for US, outside of the US might be possible but check with us first)

Donate $5 and get your choice of a pdf with our notes from the trip on cultivating chicories, or a pdf of culinary preparations.

Donate $20 and we’ll set you up with the above pdfs as well as stickers and buttons

Donate $50 and you’ll get everything above, and a copy of the beautiful Giáz event poster (check out the website for the event at già and the poster image on instagram here)

Donate $100 for a signed copy of Compact Farms and Culinary Breeding Network stickers

Donate $250 and we’ll send you an 8×10″ photo by Shawn Linehan, an event poster and we’ll give 3 shout outs on Instagram to let you world know how great you are!

Donate $500 and we’ll get you an 8×10″ photo, 3 instagram shoutouts, and we’ll come to your house to do a multimedia presentation on the trip (in the Portland area – we can travel, but those expenses aren’t included…)

Donate $1000 and you basically get everything, and we’ll do the multimedia presentation at your business (same travel as above)

Really these are all just suggestions – if you want to donate but would like some different combo for a thank you (or nothing at all) just let us know and we might be able to make it happen.