A recent vegetable variety trial in Washington State has heaped some lavish praise on several Seeds from Italy varieties. The joint project by the Organic Seed Alliance, Port Townsend Food Coop, Washington State University, and Port Townsend Farmers Market said its "objective was to assist growers to expand their season and diversify their winter vegetable production on the Olympic Peninsula, supporting increased availability of local foods."
Seeds from Italy's Cuor d' Oro endives performed particularly well, being labeled "The most flavorful endive in the trial, [and] though it was only moderately cold-hardy and moderately vigorous, it was perfectly harvestable until mid‐November."
The trial noted that Radicchio is "one of the highest value cold-hardy leafy vegetable crops." Seeds from Italy's Radicchio di' Chioggia was the only true round Radicchio in the trial that "remained somewhat harvestable after the coldest weather had toasted its older, outer leaves."
The reaction to the rest of the Seeds from Italy Radicchio seeds in the trial speaks for itself:
"The surprise success in beautiful red radicchio types in this trial were two selections that are probably of similar origin; ‘Rossa di Verona’ and ‘Rossa di Verona sel Arca’ (both from Seeds from Italy). These varieties make a gorgeous tight round head that is open on top like a rose bud, with the outer leaves looking like rose petals! Overall, we lost some plants in both of these varieties to the cold, BUT the plants that remained were very cold hardy indeed, exhibiting little frost damage and being harvestable as soon as the cold subsided! We grew one red leaved grumolo, ‘Grumolo Rossa’ (Seeds from Italy) that had an upright, open habit and has had excellent spring growth of harvestable red leaves. In the green leaved types we had a very cold hardy, open heading type with speckles of red ‘Radicchio di Castlefranco’ (Seeds from Italy) that was a standout and had big harvestable open heads that looked like a green leaf lettuce. Lastly we had two green leafed varieties that are of the “sugar loaf” type of chicories. The sugar loaf type produces a very mild tasting radicchio that is upright and more like a small Romaine lettuce head. The two varieties, ‘Radicchio di Luisa Tardiva’ and ‘Bianca a Bergamo sel Franchi’ (both from Seeds from Italy) had moderate frost damage with toasted outer wrapper leaves, but once these outer leaves are stripped off there is revealed an excellent sugarloaf type that could readily be sold as one might sell Romaine lettuce hearts. Everyone who saw these jewels fell in love!"
Thanks to the Organic Seed Alliance for including Seeds from Italy seeds in their trial. To see the whole results of the trial, which included Arugula, Beets, Swiss Chard, Cilantro, Collards, Endive and Escarole, European Kale, Radicchio, and Spinach, go to the Organic Seed Alliance website and download the PDF of the trial results.