BFM's Guide to Greens
Mesclun Mix, Salad Mix or Spring Mix are all names for a selection of lettuces and other edible leaves that are harvested while very young. This means that the harvester, armed with a pair of scissors, has to cut each individual leaf when it reaches 4-6 inches tall. Most of these types of lettuces are best grown in cool weather which means that they are very happy right now in the fields and hoop houses of our growers! It is fun to explore the different mixes available from each of our growers. Farmers like to customize their mixes so that no two are alike. Some growers may include more bitter greens, others may include baby kales. As the season progresses and the temperatures rise, the mixes change again to include more heat tolerant varieties of greens.
Of course, one of the things that people enjoy most about these salad mixes is that they are generally fully washed and ready to eat. How easy and tasty is that!?! (And, of course, there are also plenty of types of greens that you can get individually, and not just in a mix. There's spinach, baby arugula, kale, chard, mizuna, watercress, and so much more!) Storage: As we mentioned, salad mixes are usually ready to eat (if in doubt, ask the grower!) and come in a breathable bag to help keep them dry. When you get home, do not store your greens in the bag. Instead, line a container with several layers of paper towels and dump greens on top. You will be amazed at how much lettuce mix is in that bag! Place another paper towel on top, snap on the lid and store in the refrigerator. Stored in this manner, your salad mix will last a couple of weeks, that is, if you haven’t eaten it all by then. Building your salad: Given that the leaves of these mixes are very tender, you will need to forego heavy dressings such as creamy bleu cheese or Thousand Islands. Instead, opt for light oil and vinegar based dressings, adding blanched spring vegetables such as asparagus or snap peas, and raw veggies such as fennel, cucumber, spring radishes or scallions. Spicy mixes are delicious with the addition of ingredients that have a big burst of flavor such as fresh goat cheese or sun dried tomatoes. Try our all-purpose citrusy vinaigrette tossed with salad mix and a sprinkle of grated parmesan for a light and refreshing side to go with pasta. You can always bulk up the salad with fresh fruit in season, fresh goat cheese and avocado. Toasted walnuts or hazelnuts would also make a great addition. Lemon Vinaigrette In a large bowl (for mixer or by hand) or a food processor, whisk together: 2 T. Dijon mustard 2 T. minced shallots ½ c. white wine vinegar ¾ c. lemon juice 1 T. sugar 1 T. minced garlic 1 T. black pepper Slowly drizzle in: 2 c. olive oil Season with salt and pepper Santos Farm, a certified organic farm in Yamhill, grows delicious salad mixes as well as baby arugula and early loose leaf lettuces which they bring to the Winter Market each week. In addition, they bring fresh cut chives, thyme and cilantro which would be delicious tossed into your spring salads. After a long wet winter eating hearty soups and stews, who isn’t ready for the light taste of Spring greens!
Kalettes - a truly unique green! We are used to seeing a wide variety of different greens offered at the market, but we are always excited when something new and interesting makes its way to our growers’ stalls. Lately, Denison Farms has us all talking about kalettes. They are a cross between kale and a Brussels Sprout. They are the product of 15 years of hard work and dedication (using traditional breeding techniques) from the British vegetable seed house, Tozer Seeds. Crossing kale with brussels sprouts was a natural fit since they are both from the Brassica Oleraca species which includes cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. This means that kalettes are healthy as well as delicious! Kalettes can be sautéed, roasted, grilled or eaten raw. Recipes and preparation methods for cooking them can be found on the official kalette website.