endive farming in Quebec
Endives, also called chicory or witloof (Brussels chicory) is part of the chicory family. It is grown in several steps. The first step occurs in the fields starting with the sowing in May and ends in October with harverst. At that time, the green leaves found above the ground at the end of the root (also called carrot) are cut about four centimetres from its neck.
The harvested roots are then refrigerated up to the second step which consists of picking apart the roots and putting them in plastic bags where the bottoms are covered with peat. The act of picking them apart must be done in tight rows so that the endive obtains its characteristic shape and is as compact as possible.
Once this step is completed, a third step takes place: growing them in a “forcing” room. Their trays are places in a temperature-controlled room that does not allow any light to penetrate so that they can develop into creamy white or pale yellow endives. Watered regularly with nutritive solutions, the endives remain in the “forcing” room for a period of 21 days.
At maturity, the endives go through the final step which consists of separating them mechanically from their roots and peeling them, or removing damaged leaves. Once this is done, they are then packaged.