It took me years to find, but I finally have a favorite broccoli that will grow extremely well in Hawai’i in any season of the year! I kept trying different open-pollinated non-heading and heading types until I hit on one that I love called Piracicaba. What I love about it is that although the central head is smaller compared to hybrid varieties, the plant grows large and continually puts out side shoots each with their own little head for a long long time, which means I can eat broccoli without having to constantly replant.
Piracicaba is a non-heading, open pollinated heirloom variety developed at Brazil’s oldest agricultural university and named after the Brazilian city and river. In the steamy inlands of Brazil lies the tropical city of Piracicaba. Piracicaba is surrounded by tropical farmlands. It is here that this amazing, heat-tolerant broccoli was born.
While most broccolis wither in the mid-summer heat, Piracicaba thrives, sending forth shoot after shoot of sweet, large-beaded florets. Cut after cut, it just keeps on yielding. It’s not a broccoli raab or a broccolini it’s sweeter than either of those and steams up very quickly.
Broccoli keeps a long time in the fridge and the stem and leaves are tender and delicious, so pick the side shoots back to the main stem every few days.
Interesting broccoli information: Today, market farmers want a quick hybrid broccoli with one large head, so the older open-pollinated varieties that tend to have also side shoots have all but disappeared over time. I hope that as the years go on, many OP broccoli varieties will be on our marketplace to serve the home producers of Hawai’i.
Full or part sun.
Spacing: 2-3 feet apart depending upon your soil fertility
Heigh at maturity: 30+ inches
Planting tips: Can plant anytime during the year, though winter is best. Start seeds in fall in pots and bring up to 2-3 sets of mature leaves and then transplant. Setting out 4-6 plants eqch quarter should keep you in broccoli the whole year.
Harvest tips: Harvest every few days before the side shoots open their flowers.
30 seeds per packet
Seeds grown in Kainaliu in mauka Kona