Pests & Diseases
Escarole and its lettuce siblings are vulnerable to a number of pests including harvester or fire ants, aphids, armyworms, beetles, bollworms, cabbage loopers, caterpillars, crickets, cutworms, grasshoppers, leafhoppers, leafminers, lygus (tarnished plant) bugs, slugs, snails, stink bugs, thrips, and whiteflies.
Mosaic viruses infect plants, which then become reservoirs of the disease, stunting growth. Cucumber, lettuce, and turnip mosaic virus are similar in nature, though the latter is more prevalent in escarole. Ironically, turnip mosaic virus was inadvertently transferred to some escarole varieties while breeders were building resistance to downy mildew. Symptoms include slowed development, lack of coloring, tears and crimping in leaves, and eventually plant death.
Beet western yellows virus has an impact in California, Arizona, and Florida. It causes a pronounced chlorosis of the outer leaves of lettuce and escarole. Other diseases of note include bacterial blight, bottom rot, damping off, downy or powdery mildew, fusarium, grey or white mold, soft rot, tip burn, wilt, and yellowing.
Storage & Packaging
Both Belgian endive and escarole should be cooled after harvest to 34 to 36°F with high relative humidity (95 to 100%). They are, however, susceptible to freezing injury if stored below 32°F for any period of time. Although a low producer of ethylene, exposure to higher levels can cause yellowing.
References: New England Vegetable Management Guide, Oregon State University, Rutgers University, University of Arizona, University of Florida/IFAS Extension, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USDA.
GRADES & GOOD ARRIVAL
There is only one grade for escarole, endive, or chicory: U.S. No. 1. Plants should have similar varietal characteristics with fresh, well-trimmed and fairly well blanched leaves, free from decay and damage. There should be no broken, bruised, spotted, or discolored leaves, or evidence of wilt, dirt, disease, or insects.
Generally speaking, the percentage of defects shown on a timely government inspection certificate should not exceed the percentage of allowable defects, provided: (1) transportation conditions were normal; (2) the USDA or CFIA inspection was timely; and (3) the entire lot was inspected.
|U.S. Grade Standards||Days Since Shipment||% of Defects Allowed||Optimum Transit Temp. (°F)|
There are no good arrival guidelines for this commodity specific to Canada; U.S. guidelines apply to shipments unless otherwise agreed by contract.
References: DRC, PACA, USDA.