Kitchen Garden

Lettuce from the Grocer

Iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing and black pepper.

When there were decent heads of organic iceberg lettuce at the grocer I bought one. We usually don’t eat lettuce unless we grow it. Iceberg lettuce is much maligned and actually pretty good. It made a nice winter treat.

I placed the unopened bag on a refrigerator shelf where it rested for a week. It yielded some wilted leaves for soup and four 3/4-inch slabs like the one in the photo.

We like the lettuce my farmer friends and I grow. With implementation of row cover in my garden, the kitchen had the leafy greens most of the season. I can’t imagine buying another bag of loose, mixed greens at the market. It is never as good as home grown and recalls for contamination have been too frequent. The whole head of iceberg was just the pick-me-up needed to inspire spring planting.

Garden planning is proceeding slowly yet I know what I’m doing about lettuce. I had about twelve feet of row cover last year. Under it I planted radicchio, lettuce and herbs. This year I have materials for 36 feet of row cover.

I expect to do a better job of rotational lettuce planting so I don’t have too many heads ready at the same time. I count nine varieties of lettuce in my seed drawer. Of those, Magenta is our favorite. I also have a stack of arugula seeds, six varieties. I’d like to get to the point where arugula grows wild so no planting is required. I hear tales of chefs who dug up wild arugula (a.k.a. Rocket) and transplant it to a raised garden plot where it thrives. If I could succession plant it this year, that would be good enough for 2022.

Lettuce is a cash crop for local farmers. They sell it to restaurants and make good margin. It seems normal to pay $5 for a bag of local lettuce at the farmers market. As long as I grow my own, it’s a bargain.

Because of high winds I’ve been indoors all day. Gusts approached 40 miles per hour, began around midnight, and continued all day. A small snow drift formed across the driveway.

I had the last of the iceberg lettuce for lunch. While eating it I thought I’m ready for spring.