Redwood Lettuce Party
This week we hosted the first annual Redwood lettuce tasting party. Some of our friends and most trusted greens connoisseurs sampled each of our lettuces, kales and mustards and helped us discover their most defining qualities. It was a tasty and productive experience.
We started our green garden tour with forellenschus lettuce, also known as speckles because of the smattering of purple on the green leaves. The hearts were crisp and sweet, though we did find them to be a bit tastier a few weeks ago.
The prizehead variety lives up to it's name with massive heads of purple tipped leaves. Even late in the season, this green never got bitter.
The purple orach was a fun first-time tender green for most. It's “mellow, earthy and juicy” flavors definitely stood apart from the common lettuces.
Of course, the spicy sylvetta arugula woke everybody up.
The red winter kale was nutty and smooth, and lucky for us seed farmers, it is a Brassica napus, and therefore does not cross with it's neighbor, vates currly blue kale, Brassica oleracea. The vates was described as more crisp and better for kale chips.
Red romaine is always an eye-pleaser with tall heads of glossy red leaves.
Jericho, a green romaine, is a quintessential sandwich lettuce with rich flavor and long flat leaves. Developed in the desert, the tall heads are slow to bolt and resist burnt edges.
We planted our own eating (not for seed) patch of great greens mix this year, which includes bok choy, arugula, cress and a couple of mustards. Everyone was very happy this sweet and spicy mix was just for eating.
One of our new lettuces this year, the lovelock has substantial heads of beautiful green and purple glossy leaves. We selected this sweet new plant because it is resistant to our hot summers.
The tango lettuce is one of the only greens not bolting yet. It's spunky wrinkled heads were like a thick green shag carpet of sweet thin leaves.
Slo Bolt lettuce if effectively heat resistant, though the plant is best young while the hearts are still juicy and tender.
The salad bowl was the earliest lettuce to go to seed this year, but it's bolt was quite a sculpture of climbing thin leaves. As a young plant, it was dense and delicious.
The most impressive butterhead this year, sylvesta impressed everyone with it's distinct cabbage-like heads and thick fleshy leaves. Someone suggested dipping it in olive oil and salt – sounds tasty.
The new green wave mustard is impressing all of us this year. It's giant spicy leaves taste like wasabi, and the bolting plant can really leave the mouth burning.
We cooled it off and finished with the mild and beautiful deertongue lettuce. The leaves are sweet and tender even while bolting, and the heads are unique spirals of thin pointed leaves.
We finished the tour with a spirited salad dressing competition. Much like the greens themselves, it was impossible to pick a favorite, but we all had a good time trying. One thing is for sure, we are definitely going to have to do this with melons!
Thanks to all of our friends who came out to help us thoroughly explore the flavors and characteristics of our spring greens.