Lettuce. (I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like much, but check this out.)
My sweet market-neighbors Carol and Walter of Rainbow Hill Farms sold me this still-in-the-dirt head, and informed me that, as needed, I can pull mature leaves from the bottom, keeping the rest intact. The head will continue to grow and produce (sunny spot, watered and fed, of course) indoors, over the winter, indefinitely. Fresh lettuce via countertop all year long!
Need a few leaves to add some crunch to warm roast beef and provolone on rye? Rather than buying a whole head at the grocery, just clip a few and crunch-away.
Hungry for a salad? Lob the whole head off with a kitchen knife and continue to feed and water the roots. A new head will blossom in a few weeks.
I suppose I should count myself lucky for all the hours I’ve spent peddling spice blends out-of-doors among growers and artisans and bakers and happy shoppers. (At 35+ markets a year, that is roughly a minimum of 6 weeks of my life in total; yikes!) But, I have to be honest, this time of the season, market starts to feel like a drag. Sunday mornings, I want to lay in bed with my husband watching Meet the Press; I want a mimosa-accompanied brunch, damnit; I want to laze in the web of a two-day weekend.
But here’s the thing: just when the season starts to lull and the summer’s tomatoes disappear, there’s something new—be it veggie or bookmaker, coconut cupcakes or big band festival—that makes the market new again. This time, it’s lettuce. And if I can keep it alive and thriving, it is sure to have me satisfied until the first arugula glows its verdant glow on the spring market tables.