Lights ... camera ... escarole! PBS's "Ciao Italia" films segment at UNH Organic Garden
By Beth Potier, Media Relations
July 25, 2007
Wearing frilly frocks of deep emerald green, their feet covered with
mud, the escarole plants at the UNH Organic Garden got star treatment
on the morning of July 16 when PBS’s “Ciao Italia” taped
them for an upcoming segment about ways to cook the tasty salad green.
“We’re doing a grand tour of escarole – ‘scarolla’ in
Italian,” said host Mary Ann Esposito, who shot the segment with
UNH senior Cormac Griffin, president of the UNH Organic Gardening Club.
Griffin introduced Esposito, a UNH alum and Durham resident, to the four
types of escarole he and garden manager Diana Laurentitis had grown on
OGC’s two-acre plot on Spinney Lane.
While Esposito tapes several “Ciao Italia” segments in her
own garden, she admitted that she hadn’t had luck growing escarole.
So she and producer Paul Lally contacted the OGC via the Office of Sustainability
early this spring to “commission” a row of escarole. Griffin
happily obliged, then consulted with Cooperative Extension associate
professor of plant biology Becky Grube to ensure that the escarole would
be ready for its television close-up.
Which it was. “This escarole is beautiful!” Esposito gushed.
As Lally crouched behind the camera, Griffin and Esposito swapped gardening
tips and tales for what will be a three-minute segment. “I remember
my grandmother just going along and picking this on the roadside,” said
Esposito of one type of escarole.
“I guess one person’s weed is another’s gourmet meal,” said
Esposito explained that UNH’s organic garden exemplifies a principal
of Italian food. “We’re trying to get people to think globally
and eat locally. Italians always eat what’s in season,” she
And shooting part of a show at the organic garden was a homecoming of
sorts for Esposito: “I got my start right here on New Hampshire
Public Television,” she said, motioning across Main St. to the
Although the UNH escarole won’t come to public television until
spring or summer of 2008, it will be available for purchase at the OGC’s
weekly farm stand, Wednesdays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Murkland