White radish, icicle radish, white moolie or daikon - whatever you call it, this radish from eastern Asia, which is also grown in Lazio, is becoming increasingly popular in Italy. Its flavor is reminiscent of radishes, the leaves are similar to turnip leaves and the vegetable looks like a carrot.
Extra-large (left) and small (right) daikons.
"Exports are slightly late this year due to the high temperatures and therefore to the fact that local productions are still available. This is true for bunch carrots but, most of all, for kohlrabi, round white turnips, Chinese cabbage and daikon. As these vegetables are not part of the traditional Mediterranean cuisine, they are mostly popular abroad," explains Gianpaolo Forcina, marketing manager at Forcina Marco & C./Forcina Italian Produce in Fondi (LT).
"In Italy, the commercialization of daikon has grown over the past few years, but it still only represents 2%. Over 95% of the local produce is sent to Eastern European countries such as Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as Germany, Northern Europe and the UK, where feedback has been particularly great."
Daikon with leaves
The company promotes and distributes daikons in different formats. "We process the vegetables to make sure they maintain their unique white color and then sort them into crates which hold either 20 smaller vegetables or 15 medium and extra-large ones."
In addition, this year, the company has introduced leafed daikons. "This processing requires double the precision when processing the product, as leaves are very peculiar. Feedback was great especially from the UK."
When it comes to prices, they differ depending on the category "Small daikons hover between €3.50-4.00 per 10-12 kg crate, medium ones reach €4.00-4.50 per 10-12 kg crate and extra-large ones sell at €5.00 per 13-15 kg crate."