Lettuce Lunch | CUESA

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market »

Sat 8am–2pm | Tue & Thu 10am–2pm | SF

Jack London Square Farmers Market »

Sun 10am–3pm | Oakland

Mission Community Market »

Thu 4pm–8pm | SF

January 13, 2006

Lettuce Lunch

Right now, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is full of tasty salad ingredients. Chicories, cheeses, cresses, citrus fruits, oils, eggs, vinegars, nuts and roots all lend themselves to delicious winter salads. But by far the most favored salad ingredient, and one that can easily stand alone with a simple dressing, is Lactuca sativa - lettuce.

Right now, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is full of tasty salad ingredients. Chicories, cheeses, cresses, citrus fruits, oils, eggs, vinegars, nuts and roots all lend themselves to delicious winter salads. But by far the most favored salad ingredient, and one that can easily stand alone with a simple dressing, is Lactuca sativa - lettuce. Delicate heads of butter, crisp hearts of Romaine, and colorful mixes are especially sweet and succulent at this time of year.

Lettuce belongs to the large Compositae family, along with other edibles including chicory, sunflower, artichoke, cardoon, tarragon, and chamomile. Its origin is thought to be somewhere in the Mediterranean and it has been used by humans for thousands of years. Lettuce was originally grown for use as a medicine; the milky substance that it contains is actually latex, which is soporific. Over many centuries of cultivation and selection, lettuces have become less bitter and sedative. Though lettuce is sometimes cooked or pickled, and in its culinary history has even been candied, it is commonly eaten raw in the West.

America’s favorite lettuce is iceberg (so named because it is often iced for shipping), but you won’t find many crisphead lettuces at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Our farmers grow many kinds of lettuces, including heirloom varieties that come in a range of colors and retain more of the plant’s flavorful heritage. Lettuces sold at the market have all sorts of interesting names, such as Lolla Rosa, Medallion, Reine des Glaces, Craquante D’Avignon, Paris Island Cos, and many more. At your next dinner, mystify your guests by serving them Red Oak with Mascara!

About CUESA

CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »