Finding a Niche in Endive Farming with Rich Collins – Future of Agriculture

Richard Collins is the owner of California Endive Farms, a farming operation that specializes in growing endive, a vegetable of the chicory family that is so special, it’s grown twice. Due to the strict conditions and labor-intensive manner of growing it, the endive was deemed a rare crop to produce. However, Rich took advantage of this fact and decided to niche down and focus on building a farming business around it. Today, California Endive Farms is still the largest American endive grower.

Rich joins us to share the story of how he learned about the endive plant and what made him decide to grow such a complicated crop. He explains what endives are, why they’re difficult to grow, and the market potential it has. He describes the various factors they have to consider and how they manage to control them on their farm. Rich also shares why there’s hardly any competition for them when it comes to growing endive. 

“There’s a huge window of opportunity for us to grow crops in a much more rational manner with respect to soil and water resources.” – Rich Collins

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Rich’s journey in the ag industry and the people who influenced his business decisions.
  • What endive is, why it needs to grow in the absence of light, and the difficulty in farming it.
  • What the market is like for endive, its uses, and its health benefits.
  • How marketable is it growing endive as a primary source of income?
  • The factors that influence endive growth and the conditions they control.
  • Finding a niche like endive farming today compared to what it was like decades ago.
  • The competition for endive growing and why they hardly have competition.
  • The costs of growing endive and why it’s not easy to automate.

Connect with Rich Collins

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Tim Hammerich

Tim is a strategic communications consultant, founder of AgGrad, and the host of the "Future of Agriculture" podcast. Originally from California, he is now based out of Boise, Idaho.