May 22, 2014

Salad Season

It's salad time!

I love salad. I'm kind of a nerd that way. I guess it's a good thing I married a vegetable farmer.

This time of year, our salads are made up primarily of five types of greens. You can mix them up anyway you wish, or eat just one kind. Either way, they are delicious, better than you are probably used to. It's like the difference between the cheapest store brand toilet paper and super soft Charmin. Seriously.

Anyway, back to salads. The five types of greens we have right now are tatsoi, tokyo bekana, arugala, romaine, and summer crisp lettuce. (and yes, I had to ask Jay to know those last two.) So, what's the difference? And what do you do with them?

Tatsoi is also called spoon mustard, spinach mustard or rosette bok choy. It's similar to spinach in texture, with a little less overwhelming flavor. It will add crunch to your salad mix, some good bite to it. And it's good for you, providing a healthy amount of Vitamins A, C, beta-carotene, calcium, folate, and of course fiber.

Tokyo bekana, also known as mini Chinese cabbage, doesn't have anything near the texture of cabbage. In fact, in my opinion, it's the softest of the greens we have right now. But the flavor is great, and its light green adds a nice color to the salad. Plus, it absorbs the flavor of your salad dressing so well. But more on that later.

Arugula is not new to most people. It has a strong peppery flavor, very distinct in any dish. Personally, I don't enjoy a salad of just arugula, but rather prefer to mix it in with any of the other greens.

Romaine lettuce is making its debut for 2014 on our market tables this Saturday. Romaine is an excellent source of Vitamin A, but also provides a healthy amount of potassium, fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Iron. Of all our offerings this week, Romaine offers the best crunch to your salad.

Summer crisp lettuce, in both red and green, will be also for sale for the first time this season. This salad component offers some color to the bowl, as well as a medium texture.

Really, you can't go wrong with any of them, alone or mixed together. Our salad mixes are picked fresh just prior to the market, so you can rest assured they won't get all slimy by the time you get home.

But what to do with it. It just depends on your taste. My favorite is a mix of all the greens with fresh green onions, chopped fresh asparagus, maybe a boiled egg, and homemade ranch dressing. From the packet. I'm not that pioneer here.

The Tat Soi is also great with fresh strawberries, sliced almonds, and Kraft's raspberry vinaigrette.

If you want a darker, stronger flavor to your salad dressing, you could whip up some balsamic vinaigrette. Just mix together 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Whisk it right before pouring it over your salad, because it will re-separate if you make it in advance. Or, just go to the store and buy a $2 bottle of salad dressing. That works too.

Or if you need a sweeter dressing (you know, something the kids will love), whip up some honey mustard dressing. Whisk together 1/4 cup mayo, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice. Trust me -- it's yummy.

Either way, we hope to see you this week at our market. Weather permitting, we will be able to offer these salad options for weeks to come. We will also have radishes and haikuri turnips at the market this weekend.