Vegetables and Berries

Ode to Lettuce

Will you allow me to wax lyrical on lettuce? Lettuce so rarely merits more than a passing thought, but this week’s selection makes it worthwhile to pause and consider it. In truth, it’s pretty easy to overlook lettuce. Farming-wise, I mean, if not otherwise. Forget it in a corner of the field, fail to water it in time or enough, and it will quickly bolt and turn bitter. Fortunately though, the season has been anything but dry so far. We’ve had abundant rain, with just enough sunny days to give delicate lettuce leaves more rather than less substance. The long and short of it is that our early lettuces are flourishing, and the two varieties in your basket this week (‘Red Oak Leaf’ and ‘Emerald Oak’) will prove my point. While we’re at it, a few words on the proper storage of lettuce (and other leafy greens – spinach, Swiss chard, etc.) are in order: the less water on the leaves, the better, as the longer they may be stored in your refrigerator. So for this week’s lettuce: as soon as you can, cut the leaves at their base, give them a nice cold water bath, spin them and store them in an airtight container. They should keep for at least a week.

That said, this second week of the season is also scape, strawberry and Swiss chard week. Our just harvested scapes are at their freshest now. Eaten raw or cooked, garlic scapes are a delicate teaser, hinting at the full-grown garlic that will follow in late July. With a couple of days to go before deliveries, the jury is still out on the readiness of our snap peas and broccoli. We’ll let Mother Nature make the call.