Salad Mix

13912373_1209346385762988_5826851485896979435_nSalad Mix is one of our most popular crops, and we work really, really hard on it! Salad is always harvested to order and no inventory kept. There is an ever-changing mixture of additions to the Salad Mix, from beet greens to baby kale to mustards and pac choi and other asian greens. There are 8 different types of lettuce in the mix. We grow a special variety of multi-leaf lettuce that grows full size heads that are made up of small leaves, so when we harvest it and core it in the field the heads fall apart to an instant salad. It takes 8 weeks to reach maturity, and so we seed and transplant lettuce every single week here at the farm so that we have a steady supply of tender, juicy, crunchy lettuce.

Lettuce can be hard to grow in the summer as it is shallow-rooted and needs lots of water, so we use drip irrigation to help execute this crop. The drip lines target the water to the roots of the crop which is better for managing disease and food safety as well as keeping the water where it is a maximum benefit to the crop. Also, we can still weed and harvest, even when the irrigation is running (as opposed to a wasteful sprinkler system). Without irrigation, our lettuce crop would dry up and become bitter in the baking sun.

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GORGEOUS!! Edible pansy flowers

Your salad often comes with pansy flowers on it. They are completely edible and have a faint taste of mint or bubblegum. If you’re leery about eating flowers, rest assured you won’t even notice the taste in your forkful of salad, they are very delicate and mild. I hear from many of you that your male partners don’t like to eat the flowers on the Salad Mix, especially when taking lunch to work with them!

Season: Lettuce is available very early in the spring until a few weeks after frost. It can withstand a mild frost, and generally does better in the cool seasons than the heat of summer.

13510755_1181728471858113_9157424195345399250_nStorage Tips: Store Lettuce/Salad Mix in the fridge in the bag in comes in. It will keep up to a week but should be eaten asap, as the ends will brown as it ages. If you wait too long and some of the leaves spoil, you can pick them out and wash the rest and carry on. The salad keeps very well, but remember it is cut lettuce and eat it as soon as possible. The flowers are your indicator as they will degrade first: once they start to fade and look dehydrated (wilted), you need to eat your salad asap! The ends will brown on the lettuce if it sits for too long or if you don’t keep it in the fridge.

DSC00153Preparation Tips: Your salad is carefully washed at the farm before you receive it to remove dirt and maintain freshness, however it is NOT ready-to-eat. ALWAYS WASH YOUR SALAD!! We wash it at the farm for two reasons: to take the field heat out as soon as it’s harvested and lock in the keeping quality and flavour, and secondly, to get most of the dirt and bugs off. The key here is “most of”. No guarantees that you won’t find a bug, or some sand in your salad. Depending on the week, we can be dealing with a very, very dirty product to start with. For instance, if it rains just before a harvest day, we harvest very muddy lettuce that is then soaked in water in the harvest pails for a few minutes, transferred to a second wash sink, and then a third wash sink, and then spun dry, stored in the cooler a couple hours to dry further, and then bagged. In order to say that is “ready to eat”, we would have to do all this in a commercial kitchen with treated water and the final rinse be with a sanitizer product. We don’t have the capacity to do that, so please wash your salad at home! Nothing ruins a salad more than a forkful of grit or a juicy caterpillar.  Yuck!

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