Skip to main content

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica)

Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family (family Brassicaceae, genus Brassica) whose large flowering head, stalk and small associated leaves are eaten either raw or cooked. Broccoli, as we know it, was first grown in the northern Mediterranean in about the sixth century BCE, with its early cultivars grown throughout the Roman Empire. Broccoli spread into northern Europe by the 18th century and came to North America in the 19th century with Italian immigrants.

The word broccoli is the Italian plural of broccolo, which means “the flowering crest of a cabbage”, and is the diminutive form of brocco, meaning “small nail” or “sprout”.]

Fun fact: The Broccoli family, whose members include Albert R. Broccoli and Barbara Broccoli, known for producing the James Bond films, also claim that the vegetable is named after their ancestors, the Broccolis of Carrara.



Most broccoli cultivars are cool-weather crops that do poorly in hot summer weather. Broccoli grows best with average daily temperatures between 64 and 73F. When the cluster of flowers, known as the “head” of broccoli, appear in the center of the plant, the cluster is generally green. Broccoli should be harvested before the flowers on the head bloom bright yellow.

Other types of Brassica oleracea include cabbage (Capitata group), cauliflower and Romanesco broccoli (Botrytis group), kale (Acephala group), collard (Viridis group), kohlrabi (Gongylodes group), Brussels sprouts (Gemmifera group), and kai-lan (Alboglabra group). Rapini, sometimes called “broccoli rabe,” is a distinct species from broccoli, forming similar but smaller heads, and is actually a type of turnip.

In 2019, global production of broccoli (combined with cauliflower) was 27 million tons, with China and India together growing 73% of the world total. The United States, Spain, and Mexico each grew about a million tons. Broccoli is grown year-round in California which accounts for 92% of our national crop.

Broccoli cannot be harvested using machines, it must be hand-harvested.


A 100-gram serving of raw broccoli provides 34 calories and is a rich source of both vitamin C and vitamin K. Raw broccoli also contains moderate amounts several B vitamins and manganese, Raw broccoli is 89% water, 7% carbohydrates, 3% protein, and a negligible amount of fat.


Broccoli Parmiggiano Fritters (gluten free)

Roasted Broccoli Cabbage Stir Fry

Broccoli Soup with Tahini Lemon Sauce

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Asian Broccoli Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

Recipe Box

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry.

Parmesan and Shallot Risotto

A yummy side to warm your heart and taste buds!

View All Recipe

Stay Connected

Sign up for e-news to learn about special events and offerings.