A Chicory to Dismantle Late-Stage Capitalism

Radicchio is having a moment in the U.S.

Kristy Mucci
Published in
9 min readApr 1, 2020


Photos: Kristy Mucci

Italian radicchio is having a moment in the United States.

These bitter leafy vegetables, members of the chicory family, come in a spectrum of colors, shapes, textures, and levels of bitterness. Chicories make their appearance when it’s cold out — their growing season is typically mid-September to late-January (but in the Veneto region of Italy and the Pacific Northwest, which have similar climates, they can grow through March). Peculiar-looking things like Tardivo (which resembles a squid) and Castelfranco (which looks like a giant ruffly flower of pale yellow-green leaves that have been splattered with magenta pigment by an abstract expressionist) have been showing up on more farm stands, restaurant menus, and Instagram feeds in the past few months, garnering cult status in the niche vegetable category.

Interest in chicories is on the rise across the country, but in the Pacific Northwest, it’s at a fever pitch, with an abundance of unique radicchio varieties being grown there. Growers in the area have built a community around these obscure salad leaves by sharing all the information they can to help each other out. Now there are formal talks of forming an association to support one another and collectively market their radicchio.