Lettuce is one of those crops that feeds my eclectic senses. I love things that are varied and lettuce, well, lettuce comes in SO many forms.for EVERY desire. And (because I can’t help myself) we probably grow it here at Willowood Farm!
And like many crops, lettuce is something that is so so so much better enjoyed bought locally and from small farms than what is typically offered in most grocery stores. Why? Well because the great variety of flavors, colors, and textures have been mainstreamed into just a few boring and bland – green leaf, red leaf, romaine and (maybe) bibb – offerings selected not for taste but for the ability to stand up to time, travel and sitting on a grocery shelf.
But not here at Willowood! Try Blushed Butter Oak, a new variety bred by one of our favorite seed growers, Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seeds, who is developing varieties particularly suited to small organic farm production. This one if a butter and oak leaf cross, which means is has the soft, sweet flavor and texture of a butterhead with delicately scalloped “oak” leaves.
Or try Cardinale. This is an older “Batavian” type lettuce. The types from which icebergs were eventually developed. This is the classic “sandwhich” lettuce, with a big crunchy leaf but, unlike most icebergs, Cardinale has what a describe “a lot more going on” in the flavor category. It is slightly tinged bitter, which not everybody likes but some (like myself) prefer because of it’s ability to hold it’s own with more overpowering tastes and dressings.
Or you can for a simple “leaf” type. These are the ones that you cut and the fall apart into many leaves, perfect for a mixed salad. We have a number of types including these beautiful green heads called “Kirabati.”
So really, if you can’t find a lettuce that suits your tastes at the farmer’s markets today (early June being prime lettuce season) well then I guess you’ll have to wait for the fall…when we start bringing lettuce’s European cousins – the chicories! (i.e. escarole, endive and radicchio…).
Hope to see you at market today! Oh yes…and things to go with your lettuce fresh at our market booth today include…
* Mesclun * Arugula * Spinach * Walla Salad Onions * Artichokes * Radishes * Mustard Greens * Garlic Scapes * Fresh Garlic * Cucumbers * Dry Beans * Rhubarb…and more!
Farmer Georgie, Willowood Farm of Ebey’s Prairie