The garlic has been harvested, dried and now stored in the dark with plenty of circulating air. With our very warm days of July, the tomatoes are ripening quite quickly. And cherries, blueberries, peaches and corn… what a bounty. Its a great time for canning and freezing to preserve that Okanagan sunshine.
Summer heat is also the perfect time to delve into exotic salads combining peppers, cucumbers and some new greens with some old world ones. Some greens that do well in late summer are: broccoli, cabbage, chard, kale, spinach, mustard greens, arugula, sorrel, bok choi, mescalin and cilantro.
Some Italian greens currently available from seed sources such as “Franchi Seeds” are Rocket Greens, Puntarelle spinach greens, Rapini and Erba Stella greens (Buckhorn Plantain).
Franchi seeds began in 1783 when Giovanni Franchi started selling seeds around the market squares of Parma from his horse-drawn cart. The company is still in the same family 229 years later, with Giampiero Franchi at the helm and modern facilities in Bergamo, near Milan. Franchi Sementi (Sementi is the Italian word for Seeds) is a family-owned business that is not affiliated with any other seed company. Franchi Sementi is more than just packaged vegetable seeds; it’s a story of tradition, pride, experience, quality, and excellence handed down over seven generations. Franchi seeds are available from numerous sources. My favourite place to read all about the available Franchi seeds is the Australian based “The Italian Gardener”
Radicchio, sometimes known as Italian chicory because of its common use in Italian cuisine, is a perennial cultivated form of leaf chicory (Cichorium intybus, Asteraceae). It is grown as a leaf vegetable and usually has colourful, white-veined red leaves that form a head. Radicchio has a bitter and spicy taste that mellows if it is grilled or roasted.
Modern cultivation of radicchio began in the fifteenth century in the Veneto region, but its origins go further back, probably to ancient Egypt. We find the first record in Naturalis Historia, where Pliny the Elder writes about its medical properties as a blood purifier and to ease insomnia.
Radicchio is a cool weather crop and, like the endives, is usually seeded in late July or August when the days are getting cooler.
Orapo (Chenopodium bonus-henricus) is a wild mountain spinach that grows mainly at high altitudes up to 2,000 meters and has been patiently harvested by hand for centuries. Orapo is becoming one of the treasured old world foods in the Abruzzo mountains where sheep grazing has been conducted for centuries. The harvesting of Orapo follows age old techniques and is described in the article “Orapo o spinacio di montagna” (link in the sources below).
“Before climbing, you look at the mountains from below, you observe the snow, the sky and the temperatures because it mustn't be cold yet and you have to climb before the heat arrives, when the white mantle of snow begins to retreat. Only then can you reach the pens, among the sheep pastures, where the soil is rich in nitrogen and nitrates.
The passages of the flocks fertilize the earth and give birth to the orape, the vegetable of the cold and this explains its German name dieiszichorie, i.e. ice chicory, although it is not related to chicory but some spinach.”
What Is Radicchio?
A Guide to Buying, Using, and Storing Radicchio
By Kyle Phillips Updated on 09/20/22
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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About Franchi Seeds
The Italian Gardener
Orapo o spinacio di montagna
Life-long Gardener Don Rampone shares his tips and advice for gardening