Updated: May 7
Hi there Friends and Fans! We meet again! Today, Lettuce Chat about living lettuce. You know the ones, Yes You Do! We're talking about those ginormous, magnificent, leafy heads of scrumptious, nutritious lettuce. This lettuce has the name "living" attached to it because it has the roots attached, and it still has the ability to absorb nutrition, and potentially grow.
ESH living lettuce is a popular, signature item we proudly highlight. It is the same lettuce we use to build our signature blends (Loudoun Lettuce Blend and European Lettuce Blend). If you have been following us since we upped our social media/online presence, you know that we have only been offering living lettuce heads at the farmers markets. So, surprise!! We have recently decided to offer these once again in our online store, for pre-order. We're trying it out. And we all hope it goes well, because our biggest Fans are begging for them! (Edit 05/07/2021: We are currently only offering heads for purchase at market for the time being.)
You see, we didn't offer living heads for pre-order because we had not decided how to best pack them and keep them safe. Short of those clear plastic clam shell thingamajigs, we had no way to protect our precious living heads. By the way, if you ever wondered why we don't pack them in those clam shell doohickeys, it's' simply because they don't fit! We can't find a clam shell whatchamacallit big enough to fit them. A glorious problem to have. I digress... We still don't have the perfect body armor protection for the living lettuce, but we might have figured out a way to dole them out in a speedy and safe fashion.
We have chosen a selection of living lettuce heads to offer, but please remember that not all varieties will be available for purchase each week. Our available heads vary from week to week, based on the growth performance of the lettuce. As the seasons change, the heads behave differently. Some like it cool, some like it warm, and some like it hot, and they all behave accordingly. So if a particular variety is too small, we will not offer it for sale.
Lettuce chat about Butterhead. Say it with me! "Butterhead"! Not Bibb, not Boston (that could get you the stinky-eye from Guy!), not buttercrunch. We call ours "Butterhead". Because we can. This beautiful head is our most recognized head of lettuce, our flagship if we had one. It is green, luscious, buttery, velvety, smoooooth. Sometimes Butterhead "heads up" (curls into a ball), and sometimes it layers flat or fluffy.
Now meet Red Butterhead. This variety is green Butterhead's companion, but as the name suggests, it has the beautiful variation of red. Red Butterhead has a very similar flavor to green, and the leaves are sometimes much larger and broad. You could choose to use these leaves for wraps. MMMMmmmmm... These heads do not always "head up" for us, but sometimes their sprawling display is something of a vision!
Lettuce chat about Green Leaf. Green Leaf lettuce is a great big, crisp leaf that is popular among restaurants for layering on burgers, or under appetizers, tuna or chicken salad. Others are using it as a wrap for delicious appetizers or tortilla replacement. It also holds up well in your salad! It has a mild flavor, which fits in perfectly with anything you pair it with. You're welcome to call this one "Trop". We know it by heart!
Edited 5/07/2021: Lettuce Chat about Dark Green Oak. One of three kinds of oak at ESH. This Green Oak has a nice nutty flavor with sturdy, varying sized oak-shaped leaves. This head gives that nice dark green color variance that will stand out in your salad creation. Not a wrap-sized leaf though.
Lettuce chat about Green Oak. This is one of three kinds of oak that we grow. Someone at the farm once called it "white oak", to differentiate the two greens, and the name stuck. But for these purposes, we'll stick with "Green Oak". Green oak has a nice subtle nutty note. It's tender, oh so tender, and pretty dainty, despite its size in Spring. The curls of the leaves make it appear like an oak leaf, thus the name. Green Oak adds a nice light color variant to your salad. Guy recently held a Green Oak up next to his head, and it was larger than Guy's head! (And Guy's head isn't a small one.) I have a picture to prove it, but he'd just die if I put it up here. Suffice it to say, it is Green Oak's time to shine, and right now (Spring) is when these heads are the largest.
Next we visit with Red Oak. Red Oak is in the same oak family as Green Oak, but looks vastly different. Besides it being red, the leaf size is much smaller, and the head size and shape is different as well. Red Oak is also slightly nutty in flavor, and tastes pretty much the same as the other oaks. It is also a fantastic addition to a nice salad. You wouldn't use these oaks for a wrap.
Lettuce chat about Romaine. Ahhh, Romaine, the champion of the Caesar salad. A favorite of most salad eaters. Full of dark green and nutrition, Romaine holds court with the top lettuces recognized. Romaine also holds a great place in our lettuce puns: "Keep calm and Romaine on!" Our romaine heads are smaller than you might buy in the supermarket. You won't buy just "romaine hearts" from us. But our Romaine heads are far tastier than something you might grab on a quick trip to Piggly Wiggly. Be jealous, Caesar, we reign over the Romaine!
Edited 5/27/2020 to add Lollo. Finally, Lettuce chat about our lady Lollo. This head is one of Mary Ellen's favorites. It is definitively different in shape, texture, and overall character. Lollo (we often call it "Lolla", and you may, too) is another light green lettuce, that gives our blends that extra "something" visually, and a slight texture difference, with all the crinkly frilly leaves. It tends to be a larger leaf this time of year (Spring, we're in Spring as of this writing). But lollo can be finicky, too. Spring is the best time of year for our beautiful Lollo. Head size tends to be larger in Springtime, and the leaves are more robust. You can see how sassy this head is, and you can see why Mary Ellen loves this lettuce!
Friends and Fans, those are the heads that we are offering on our online store. Each head has its own personality and adds different texture to your salad creation. I want to reiterate that our head sizes vary from season to season, depending on variety. No matter the variety that you choose, you can't go wrong with our hydroponic living lettuce. As we perfect how we deliver these to you at the pre-order style market, please be patient. We cringe if just one head is injured in the process, and we will take the time to carefully present to you the perfect head of living lettuce.
Thanks for tuning in to Living Lettuce 101, it's been fun! In addition to eating them, we sometimes create the most beautiful living arrangements. (Think flower arrangements, but with lettuce instead). We'd love to hear your favorite uses for these living heads. So, Lettuce Chat again soon! Until then, Lettuce turnip the beet, and groove!