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Greens Galore

Our mild salad mix contains 3 types of baby lettuce, beet greens,
spinach, mizuna and baby kale.
Summer is now nearly upon us. Here on the farm the garden is growing and the area Farmer’s Markets are in full swing again. Some of our favorite veggies to grow are a variety of different greens. We strive to have a wide selection of greens all season long. We are in an ideal location for growing greens with our higher elevation and cooler nights.
Do you know what all those different greens are and what to do with them. Greens go way beyond just lettuce and salads. They range from peppery to bitter to lemony and you can use them in everything from omelets to soups to stir-fry. Instead of just sticking to the familiar why not try something new? I always love to try something new! Here is an overview and description of some of the many types of greens there are with a few ideas of how to use each and even links to recipes for a few of them. Many of these we grow here at Simple Gifts Farm throughout the season.
Not only are greens delicious, colorful, and versatile they are among some of the healthiest foods there are.
Colorful lettuce displayed at the Farmer’s Market
Lettuce– There are so many different types of lettuce, it is hard to know where to start. Of course there are the standard Romaine, Red and Green Leaf varieties. Some of my other favorites includes Red and Green Butterhead which has a smooth, tender texture, Red Oakleaf, which adds great color and variety to salads, and a unique speckled variety called Flashy Trout’s Back.
A bed of spinach
Spinach– Round to oval, dark green leaves. Delicious used both as baby leaves or full size. Spinach has a mild, sweet flavor. It is one of the most well known and also versatile greens. You can’t beat a spinach salad but it is also excellent in lasagna, quiche, as a pizza topping, or with garlic scapes made into pesto.
Beet Greens– Beet greens make a colorful addition to salad mix. They are also delicious lightly sauteed with some butter or olive oil. The flavor is mild and slightly salty. My two favorite varieties for greens are Bull’s Blood which has lovely deep red leaves and Early Wonder Tall Top which is fast growing with bright green leaves and red veins.
Frilly red and green mustard greens
Mustard Greens– Spicy with a horseradish type flavor, mustard greens come in a variety of colors and shapes. The traditional variety is bright green with large somewhat serrated leaves. I love the frilly bright green and deep red varieties in a salad. They add so much color and texture with a nice burst of flavor.
Arugula– I love Arugula. It has a delightful peppery and nutty flavor that goes well with fruit and cheese. I think the flavor is best in autumn grown Arugula, it tends to be milder and sweeter at that time of year. I enjoy arugula mixed with other salad greens but it also makes a delicious salad on its own. Other ways I enjoy using it is in pesto or on pizza.
Mizuna– An Asian green that has deeply serrated leaves and comes in both green and purple varieties. The flavor is a bit like mustard greens, but without the heat. I mostly use it in salads, but it can also be cooked in stir-fry or soup.
Collard Greens– Traditionally grown and used in the south and something I had never had until we began growing it, Collards are another delicious green. Similar in flavor and texture to kale except with smooth round leaves. It can be used in many of the same ways as kale. In the South it is also traditionally cooked with salted and smoked meats. The round leaves also make great wraps.
Swiss Chard– One of the prettiest and most colorful greens, Swiss chard has large savoyed leaves with thick stalks that range from white, yellow, pink, and red. I like to use it in soup, sauteed, steamed, or even in stir-fry. The flavor is mild, sweet, and a bit salty.
Kale and Cabbage make a nice autumn salad
Kale– Kale has been all the rage lately and with good reason. It is healthy, delicious and versatile. There are several varieties of kale to choose from. There is the standard green curly type, the flat serrated Russian types, the wrinkled dinosaur types and even a beautiful purple curly type that we have enjoyed growing. Certain types are best suited for different purposes but they can also be used interchangeably. I especially like the Red Russian as baby kale in our salad mix; it is very tender, sweet and mild at that stage. The larger curly and dinosaur types are excellent sauteed, in soups, in smoothies, or one of my favorites made into kale chips.
Baby Bok Choy
Bok Choy– Very popular in Asian stir fries. Bok Choy grows in a vase shaped head. It has thick crunchy white or light green stalks with darker green rounded leaves. The flavor is mildly mustardy with a little sweetness.
Fresh lemony sorrel is one of the first greens in the spring
Sorrel– Sometimes called Lemon Sorrel or French Sorrel. I remember this one from when I was a little girl, my Dad had some growing in the garden. It is a perennial so it comes back in early spring every year. It was always fun to snack on it whenever we were outside. It has long slender bright green leaves. It bolts or sends of flower stalks very easily/early but it doesn’t seem to affect the flavor, I just break them off and it continues to grow. The flavor is tart and lemony. It makes a nice addition to salads and also can be used with fish.
Endive, Escarole, Radicchio– I am going to lump these three all together. They are all in the chicory family and all have at least a somewhat bitter flavor. I have not had as much success growing these greens and personally do not care for the bitterness.
Our spicy salad mix contains 3 types of lettuce, arugula,
3 types of mustard greens, and wrinkled crinkled cress

Cress– These delightful peppery greens are common in Northern Europe. They are used in soups, salads, sandwiches, and garnishes. The flavor reminds me of Nasturtium; both spicy and sweet. I like to grow Wrinkled Crinkled Cress. It has small frilly leaves and grows quickly.

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