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Thursday, January 5, 2012

What's the Deal with Lettuce

Sometimes I have thoughts about what I see in the garden and how it relates to life or nature or nothing at all. I guess I'll start sharing those thoughts here.

There are times when I stand in awe of nature's beauty. How she keeps things in balance and how everything just seems to happen at just the right times. Tomatoes arrive just in time to make your 4th of July BBQ sauce and they stick around for pretty much the rest of the year either fresh or canned. Beans get you through the shoulder months. Nice plumb broccoli heads and potatoes arrive as the weather starts to cool making for some nice hot casseroles and soups. Strawberries joyfully announce the arrival of summer and apples the arrival of fall. And who doesn't enjoy a nice cold slice of watermelon just as the summer heat begins to wear its welcome.

And then there's lettuce.
What is the deal with lettuce? Nature seems to have gotten this one wrong. Lettuce is one of the few crops that must be eaten within a couple of weeks of harvest -- it doesn't take to freezing or canning like others do. Lettuce is also one of the few crops that is only eaten fresh -- there is no cooking or boiling involved. So I can't figure out why nature decided that lettuce should produce its harvest in the colder months. In the colder months, we like to eat warm foods that go down smooth. It's in the warmer months that we look for cold salads and light sandwiches. In those months, lettuce is no where to be found in the home garden or local farmer's market. How did nature screw this one up? Are we missing something about lettuce? Does lettuce have some use beyond what we know? I don't have many examples of where it seems that nature got it wrong, but lettuce seems to be one.

I'd much rather eat lettuce in the warmer months.

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