"Guess what I found at the farmers market?" the Butter Bitch announced last Sunday. "Lettuce!"
Indeed she had, and she brought a head home as proof. The farmers cover the lettuce in the fields to protect their crop from the late autumn cold in the north. I'm surprised that the trick worked, but wasn't about to complain.
The head was smaller than what is found during the normal growing season, and the price was steep at $1.75. But we paid for local lettuce instead of of produce shipped 800 or more miles from California. We also got fodder for our stomachs.
The leaves - already showing a bit of wilt when brought home - didn't last more than a few days. I used the head after four days and had to pick away a patch of brown, but overall the lettuce did a remarkable job surviving in our crisper. The lettuce was reasonably crispy, and went well with a sliced local Jonagold apple and a dressing of olive oil and vinegar. I added a few walnuts to my portion.
Fresh produce is unusual in the northern parts of the continent. A friend, formerly residing in Toronto, mentioned that they had to import everything but strawberries year round. During the winter, the eastern parts of the continent are blanketed in snow and little grows. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we've had two cold snaps and high winds.
The lettuce certainly was hearty.