Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Spring Salad Greens

Salad greens are growing abundantly in the outside gardens. The weeds have been conquered in most of the bed, and it is time to harvest! We have been growing salad greens in very large quantities for 3 1/2 years now (wow!). It was the first crop that we sold wholesale and our first customer was the Homestead Bakery in Farmington. At one point we were harvesting 40-60lbs a week. It was a great way to learn the basics of farming, and to get our name out there to retail customers.

All of our best lessons learned have been from the worst mistakes made on salad greens! We learned that there is nothing more valuable to the vegetables health then the addition of amendments to the soil, it could be compost, leaves, grass clippings, chicken, horse, sheep, rabbit or cow manure. Just as long as it goes into the soil the second a crop comes out of the ground.

This year we have decided to cut back on our salad greens production and focus on other parts of the farm, such as the commercial kitchen, and the mixed vegetable garden for the CSA members and Sandy River Farmers Market. Salad greens are very labor intensive and a lot can go wrong quickly. We are having much more fun with them now that we don't feel pressured to have a lot of salad greens all of the time!

Right now we have a 100 ft. row of greens that include red and green lettuce, mild mustards, baby bok choi, kale and arugula. We harvested half of the salad greens this week, and in 2 weeks from now the same plot will be ready for harvest again.

We use sheers to cut the greens like grass by the hand full, and throw them into a bin. Once we have harvested a little bit of many different varieties of greens, we mix them, then soak them in cold water for about 10 minutes.

Then we go through the salad mix one hand full at a time looking for imperfections in greens, weeds, and whatever may have made its way into the bin. We rinse the greens twice in cold water, spin them dry in a 7 gallon salad spinner, weigh them out and bag them. It takes us about 3 hours to harvest, wash, dry, bag and clean up for 20lbs of salad.
It is now available at the Sandy River Farmers Market! But it goes very quickly, so get there early!
Thanks for reading and have a great day!!

1 comment:

  1. mmmmmm, we had your salad greens last night, with our radishes and home made honey, Dijon, balsamic dressing. Mike ate like 3 bowls full.