Valley Bounty: Lettuce

Considering how ubiquitous lettuce is as a part of our diets, we don’t really think that hard about it all that often.  At the same time, as we head into the thick of winter, the little spot of green some lettuce can bring to an otherwise white, orange, and brown winter meal can do wonders for one’s sanity, and local lettuce is available fresh from farmers’ greenhouses in winter CSAs and at farmers’ markets all winter long. Should you find yourself perusing your lettuce options sometime soon, here’s a little research I did on the different lettuce varieties we’re all vaguely familiar with.

Butter or Bibb Lettuce — this small-headed variety with sweet, soft leaves is great for sandwiches or mixing in with other greens like arugula and spinach as the base of a salad

Romaine Lettuce — a hearty constitution and a slightly bitter flavor (in a good way!) make Romaine the go-to choice for salads with strong, thick dressings like Caesar or Ranch, and it offers more fiber and Vitamin A than its cousins

Red Leaf Lettuce — Red lettuce boasts a bit more vitamin K than other varieties and its striking color can lend some visual diversity to your plate, but be warned that it won’t last quite as long in the fridge as green leaf or Romaine.

Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)