PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Sue Nackoney works with a member of the chicory family. Like different family members, some are tender and some are dense-headed.

Nackoney, who runs Gentle Rain Farm in Boring, brings her most popular chicory family — radicchios — to the Farmers Market at Portland State University most Saturdays. She said the radicchio is neither cabbage nor lettuce.

The chicory family, she said, includes “escarole, frisse, endive and then the radicchios.”

Some people have had a bitter experience with radicchios, but Nackoney was able to put it in another light.

“People use the tender ones for salads and the ones that are more dense-headed are used for cooking,” she told KOIN 6 News. “Radicchio has a reputation for being very bitter but the radicchios that are growing now, a lot of them are very mild. So you find that they actually have a sweetness to them.”

  • Sue Nackoney of Gentle Rain Farm sells her organic produce at the PSU Farmers Market, December 2022 (KOIN)
  • Sue Nackoney of Gentle Rain Farm sells her organic produce at the PSU Farmers Market, December 2022 (KOIN)
  • Sue Nackoney of Gentle Rain Farm sells her organic produce at the PSU Farmers Market, December 2022 (KOIN)
  • Sue Nackoney of Gentle Rain Farm sells her radicchio and other herbs and vegetables at the PSU Farmers Market, December 2022 (KOIN)
  • Sue Nackoney of Gentle Rain Farm sells her organic produce at the PSU Farmers Market, December 2022 (KOIN)

The Gentle Rain Farm is certified organic and grows other crops, including summer squash, cherry tomatoes, fresh cut flower bouquets, radishes and salad turnips. Sue said her farm also specializes in baby lettuces and salad mix with edible flowers. The variety of radicchios she planted in the summer are now ready and in season during the winter.

One of her favorites is the Castelfranco radicchio.

“In Italy they open them up. They grow tightly-headed and they open them up so you can see the blanched interior, the beautiful speckling and everything,” she said. They’re so popular they mostly sold out.

“The Rose radicchios are usually a brighter pink. They are really beautiful, just hard to grow,” she said. “The varieagated ones are very mild. The castelfranco is very mild.”

The PSU Farmers Market happens every Saturday. But Nackoney is now on break until June.

Over those months when she’s away from the Portland Farmer’s Market, she’ll plan her next crops, order seeds and get everything planted.