WHAT IS BELGIAN ENDIVE?
BC, Belgian endive is called witloof. It is a type of vegetable
with smooth cream-coloured leaves. It is 10 to 15cm long and
compressed into a compact, slender, pointed head.
WHERE IS BELGIAN ENDIVE PRODUCED IN BC?
It is grown in the Lower Mainland.
HOW MUCH BELGIAN ENDIVE DO WE PRODUCE?
While witloof is an important vegetable in Europe, it is not a
major crop is BC. All of it is grown on one farm.
HOW IS BELGIAN ENDIVE PRODUCED?
Seeds are planted in April through June about 15cm apart. The
plants are watered and fertilized throughout the summer. In the late
summer and fall, the roots are dug up. The leaves are trimmed back
and the roots are trimmed to about 20cm in length. After a cold
storage period, roots are planted in dark, forcing chambers and
watered with a hydroponic solution. The first harvest can be done
about four weeks later.
WHAT DOES BELGIAN ENDIVE LOOK LIKE WHEN I USE IT?
Witloof is used raw in salads or braised and served as a
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER BELGIAN ENDIVE LEAVES THE FARM?
be stored, witloof needs to be wrapped by something that excludes
the light, otherwise it will turn green. Witloof is a specialty
vegetable and marketing is a challenge. Product is sold to
wholesalers who in turn supply supermarkets and restaurants.
WHAT CHALLENGES DO BELGIAN ENDIVE PRODUCERS FACE?
Witloof production is a very specialized business requiring
sophisticated equipment and careful management by the grower. It is
a long season crop which must be first grown in the field, then
stored for a time and finally forced (which means to artificially
hasten the development) before the product is ready for the market.
WHO'S INVOLVED IN PRODUCING BELGIAN ENDIVE?
- Witloof producer
- Seed suppliers
- Fertilizer suppliers
- Equipment dealers
- Carton manufacturers
- Field workers
Interesting Fact About Belgian Endive:
Belgian endive that we eat today is the result of an accident.
A Belgian farmer was growing chicory for its root. The root was
used as a coffee substitute in Europe. He threw some of these
roots into the soft soil of a dark shed and forgot them. Three
weeks later, he found that tight blanched heads had grown. The
result has been systematically cultivated since. In BC, Belgian
endive is a minor crop, but in Northern Europe, it is a very
important winter vegetable.
- Contacts and other resources:
- Belgian Endive
Marketing Board (Belgium)
InfoBasket: Your Portal to Agri-Food Information on the Internet
- van Eekelen Enterprises (the only significant witloof grower