Endives are IT for Valentine's Day

By Laura Braden

Roses are so old school – what better way to shake up Valentine’s Day (as well as show off your Sacramento Farm to Fork pride) than with an endive bouquet from the California Endive Farm? 🙂

Endive Bouquets-4
Source: Erin Alderson of Naturally Ella

For $59.99, you’ll receive a bouquet of red and white “on-the-root” endive (6 heads, 3 red/3 white), a 3-pack of endive (2 white, 1 red), endive appetizer/salad info-graphics and a personalized gift card. Shipping is FREE and $2.14 of each purchase will be donated to the California Food Literacy Center (non-profit in Sacramento, CA dedicated to inspiring change in community food education).

Order them here – all orders will arrive between Wednesday, February 11th and Friday, February 13th.

Based in Rio Vista, the California Endive Farms is family-run/owned by the Collins family and the largest American producer of high quality endives. Keeping in line with family tradition, Molly Collins is the farm’s marketing coordinator. I first met Molly during our search for the ladies leading Sacramento’s farm-to-fork movement, and she was kind enough to answer a few questions…

Q) How did you come up with the concept?

California Endive Farms has been sending out endive bouquets to customers and women in the world of food for the past 15+ years! We have been told numerous times to sell them to the public so this year, for the first time ever, we are selling them via our website (endive.com). My dad originally came up with the concept because of the resemblance between endive “on-the-root” and roses – but who needs roses when you can have an edible bouquet instead, right?

 Q) What’s it like being raised in an ag family? How did you decide to join the family business?

I feel very fortunate to have been raised in an agriculture family. I often tell people my dad was “ahead of the game” in regards to food & agriculture. We always had a compost pile and a garden. My parents made a valid effort to get me and my siblings around the table for a thirty minutes most nights of the week (sometimes even setting a timer to make sure we lasted the whole thirty!). Food was celebrated, not only for its taste, but for where it came from and who worked hard to grow it. When an opportunity arose to join the family business, I could not pass up the chance to work for my dad, a person I look up to both personally and professionally. I also did not want to miss the chance to market a product I grew up on and am incredibly passionate about!

Q) Why choose the Food Literacy Center as the beneficiary?

Partnering the Food Literacy Center was a no-brainer. My dad and I have had the pleasure of working with the FLC founder, Amber Stott, on a few projects and events and she immediately came to mind during our discussion about potential beneficiaries. I had the opportunity to volunteer with the Food Literacy Center a few months ago and the work Amber and her team are doing is incredibly inspiring and meaningful. This year the bouquet package includes endive appetizer and salad info-graphics to answer our most commonly asked question, “What do I do with endive?” I like that the bouquet and info-graphics tie in the concept of food literacy: educating and inspiring folks to cook and eat their vegetables!

 Q) Favorite endive dish?

That’s a tough one – I eat a lot of endive! In fact, one of the most popular questions I’m asked is, “Do you ever get sick of eating endive?” to which I always reply, “Never!” It’s hard to just choose a favorite because the thing I love most about endive is its versatility! In the summer months a salad of arugula, endive, peaches or apricots (specifically Emma Torbert’s of Clover Leaf Farm), pistachios and Point Reyes blue cheese is hard to beat. During the winter and fall months I usually switch over to a salad of endive, pears, roasted walnuts and blue cheese. My dad makes an excellent dressing of rice vinegar, Dijon and garlic that goes great with either salad. I also swap out chips & crackers for endive leaves, especially during the holiday season when appetizers are everywhere. The leaves make a great vessel for pretty much anything – hummus, salsa, guacamole, cheeses, nuts. My favorite? Endive leaves filled with chevre, salted pistachios, drizzled with honey!

Molly Collins and Amber Stott (California Food Literacy Center) (Source: Marita Madeloni)

Q) Favorite new restaurant on Sacramento’s grid and why?

Another tough one! There are so many great restaurants in Sacramento that I can easily dub as a “favorite”. I love what Michael Tuohy is doing at LowBrau and Block Butcher Bar.

I also love what the Paragary and Selland Restaurant Group’s are doing with Café Bernardo’s and Sellands, farm-to table concepts with the no-frills expediency. (I suppose I’m a product of the millennial generation!)

We are participating in the upcoming SCVB Farm-to-Fork mixer with Ruhstaller Beer and Federalist. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about Federalist and I’m excited to try their eats! A Ruhstaller beer, California endive salad and a slice of Federalist pizza?

Life is good in Sacramento!


A few of Sacramento’s biggest farm-to-fork and food literacy advocates! (Source: Marita Madeloni)
(Source: Marita Madeloni)

**DISCLAIMER: The author sits on the Board of the Food Literacy Center.

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