Forcing is the art of growing in the dark. To force is to re-plant a harvested root in the dark and re-grow from it. Without light to photosynthesise, the plant changes character and finds a new identity. Forced plants have no chlorophyll; this lends them their exceptional sweetness, silk-like texture and brilliant colour.
As agriculture becomes large-scale and less skilful, historical growing methods like these are under threat. Today, genuine forced produce is rare, and the market is increasingly flooded with fakes. This produce looks deceptively similar - with all the seductive appearance of forced
produce - but is grown industrially and aggressively at the expense of flavour.
We’re passionate supporters of the real deal, and we work directly with some of the last growers still forcing in the traditional way. We source rhubarb forced from Yorkshire-grown root systems that are over half a century old; Dunkirk Chicory forced under layers of straw and felt in old iron tunnels; Pink Radicchio and Castelfranco forced in sand for almost a month in the Veneto.