Seasonal Products

Why Ramarro Farm Radicchio Should Be on Your Plate!

Nestled amongst the Dandenong Ranges an hour east of Melbourne lies Ramarro Farm – a market garden growing a range of vegetables, fruits, leaves, and herbs.

Owners Oliver Shorthouse and Lisa Davis live and work on the farm with their son Leo. Their little slice of Italy in the Dandenong Ranges specialises in growing several Radicchio varieties, each originating from a specific town in the Veneto region of Italy. Think Venice, Risotto, Prosecco, Grappa!

Originating from a background in hospitality, Ramarro Farm began supplying chemical-free produce to Melbourne’s best chefs in 2014. As their reputation grew, so did their customer base, prompting them to become full-time farmers in 2019 to meet increasing demand.

Oliver and Lisa are fuelled by a passion for working with chefs and fostering a dialogue between chefs and farmers that improves both their products. That is just one of the reasons why Suncoast Fresh is proud to be their exclusive supplier in Brisbane, Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, and Toowoomba. The love and effort truly transcend through the high-quality products.


Growing Radicchio: A Labour of Love

Ramarro Farms’ farming practices are sustainable and chemical-free, with a focus on flavour, freshness and quality. With the health of the environment in mind, in addition to the 10 acres of vegetable production, Ramarro Farm has also planted over 200 fruit trees.

The farm is located in the small and aptly named suburb of The Patch. The area features a mix of red volcanic soil and mountain soil rich in organic matter. This, combined with an average of 1200 millimetres of rain each year, creates prime growing conditions for their range of crops.

Ramarro Farm use seeds from two young, Radicchio-focused seed companies in Italy. Owner Oliver stated, “The companies are dedicated to producing professional seeds of unique and typical chicory. We visited them in Italy last year to learn more about these products, and they were amazed at what we were achieving with Radicchio in Australia.”

“Radicchio is a notoriously tricky variety to get right”, Oliver says. “It only grows at certain times of the year (generally Winter months) and varies greatly in appearance. They don’t want to play by the rules! However, seeing the unique colours and textures plated up in restaurants makes all the hard work worth it.”


From Lizard to Lettuce

Before the business began, Oliver refined his farming skills in Italy and found inspiration in the ‘Ramarro Lizard,’ a common sight in the Italian fields. These little green companions joined him as he perfected his craft under the Italian sun. Hence, the lizard became a symbol in their logo, reflecting their origins and journey.


The Allure of Radicchio

Radicchio, often mistaken for red cabbage, is a type of chicory known for its distinct burgundy leaves and slightly bitter tang. Originating from Italy, Radicchio is a staple in Mediterranean diets and is appreciated for its unique, bold flavour (Specialty Produce, 2024).

Ramarro Farm focuses on Italian varieties and is well-known for its epic Radicchios originating from the Veneto region, including Rosa, Castelfranco, Radicchio di Verona, Treviso, and Costarossa. In the words of the expert, here is Oliver’s description of each variety:

Rosa: Incredible pink leaves on a reasonably large head with a delicate and barely bitter flavour.

Radicchio Rosa

Castelfranco: Beautifully speckled soft leaves with just a touch of bitterness.


Lusia: Decorated like Castelfranco but with more rounded leaves. It has a more robust texture and is a touch more bitter.


Treviso: Torpedo-shaped red Radicchio, which is delicious, raw and cooked.


Verona: This variety originates from the town of Verona. It has small, tight heads of red Radicchio and is deliciously bitter.


Costarossa: A red ribbed Verona style Radicchio.


Want to try them all? Ramarro Farm also has a Radicchio mix, which is a washed and cut mix of these varieties.

Mixed Radicchio

These are hands down the most beautiful varieties of Radicchio we’ve ever seen and tasted! Who better to grow these stunning Italian veggies than Ramarro Farm? Learn more about the varieties here.


Radicchio in Action

It has been amazing to see so many of our brilliant chefs already putting these stunning leafy lines to good use!

Chef Carolyne Helmy (@chefcarolyne) from @thestargoldcoast made a stunning salad featuring Castelfranco Radicchio, dill, capers, cherry tomatoes and @australianbaylobster. Yum!

Chef Guillaume Zika (@guillaume_zika) crafted a beautiful side salad for @thetropicburleigh. It featured a mix of Radicchio leaves, fresh herbs, honey, and mustard dressing. Simple yet delicious!

Tropic Radicchio Salad

Keen to get your hands on some? Please reach out to your Account Manager for more info! Don’t have an account with us? Contact us here.