The opportunity for eating locally grown lettuce in such an array of variety is in huge demand. Since it is made available directly after harvesting, one could say you’ve sat in the field with fork in hand. It simply could not be any fresher than this!
You may find it as captivating as myself after investigating the nutritional differences found among so many types and varieties. Greens can get a bit complicated, but there are only 5 general types. Each of the 5 types may vary a bit with colors and shapes.
The main classifications are Romaine, Looseleaf, Butterhead and Crisphead, and finally the Celtuce.
I found a really nice chart that compares different types of lettuce that is based on the USDA nutritional fact sheets. For a quick comparison visit “I Eat Good Real Food.” to see for yourself.
For me however, unlike so many others, find a whole lot of satisfaction in all of the diversity. Filling the salad bowl full to the rim with flavors and textures within the lettuce family is one of the most rewarding events of the cool weather growing season.
Fortunately for the consumers who continually give support to the local farms in their communities can such diversity be made available. Most of the unique varieties can only be grown for local families because it simply does not hold up to shipping across the country.
This also allows the farmer to help preserve the existence of many treasured heirloom varieties that face extinction in today’s marketplace. Many of which provide more nutritional value and extraordinary flavors.
As we begin our rediscovery of long forgotten vegetable varieties we might also find the scarcity of availability. Small farms continue to dwindle across America. Perhaps only those fortunate enough to grow their own garden would enjoy such pleasures.
What a boring existence it would be with only an Iceburg to chose from. I say buy local and keep diversity alive and well. Be sure to keep an eye out, for soon we will make available the mother lettuce, an heirloom that was once grown by Thomas Jefferson at The Monticello Plantation.