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Lettuce celebrate… It’s salad week at Big Barn!

Now we’re definitely in the Great British summer – we know because it’s started raining again – but aside from the weather, we’re delighted that the salad season is here! We know that there are a lot more of you enjoying your delicious, healthy and most-likely organic, home grown leaves from the veggie patch and window sills. The genuinely fantastic thing about leafy greens is that they’re unbelievably easy to grow and if you’ve got a good variety, they’ll continue to provide you with leaves which you can utilise for months to come!

We know that some of you will be reading this and thinking, that salad is a nice side dish or good for a little bit of decoration on the plant, while for others it’s the “optional” part of your meal. But, with health now such a concern for all of us it’s time we rediscover the salad as a meal in itself. Don’t forget when you add lots of grated veg, cheese, egg, fish or meat and top it off with a lovely, simple homemade dressing it really is a meal! Forget those limp iceberg lettuces and a few lowly tomatoes; a true salad should be a feast of colour that is fresh and crisp and full of healthy nutrients.

We know that some of you just don’t have the time or the inclination to grow your own salad, or your local wildlife might have nourished themselves with your crop and that’s fine because our local farm shops are now overflowing with a whole spectrum of salad leaves in all colours, shapes and sizes, coupled with fresh, sweet and juicy British tomatoes, crunchy cucumber and a host of other delights – a salad need not be a dreary affair.

Fresh salad crop at rogersparkgardengroup.org

Fresh salad crop at rogersparkgardengroup.org

Amazingly there are over 60 varieties of lettuce and salad leaves grown in the UK and the good news is that we are growing and consuming more salad than ever before, so if you don’t like one leaf, there’s bound to be another that’s worth trying!

Here are a few good salad facts which might surprise you:
1. Lettuce was first eaten by the ancient kings of Persia 2,500 years ago. The ancient Greeks and Romans thought it helped you to have a good night’s sleep.
2. Christopher Columbus introduced lettuce to the new world and from there lettuce in the United States went into cultivation.
3. The 17th century horticulturist, John Evelyn, introduced the vegetable to England.

Very mixed salad

Very mixed salad

4. The first supplies of Iceberg lettuce arrived on British shores in the mid 1970’s from the USA where it was developed, but it was not until 1984 that British growers truly mastered its growing techniques.
5. In Britain we eat less salad per head than the rest of Europe and the USA!

If you’re not too sure where to start or are a little light on ideas we’d recommend MakeMoreOfSalad.com. It’s packed with recipe ideas, hints and buying tips to help inspire your salad days.

For the freshest and most unusual selections of locally-produced salad leaves, head to your local grocer or farm shop on the BigBarn map. Or grab some products for delivery straight to your front door in the BigBarn MarketPlace click here.

If you have a favourite salad recipe, or any other recipe, and would like the chance to win a prize, please video your recipe and add it to KIS (Keep it Simple) Cookery. Please have a look at existing videos here and try and keep your video less than 2 minutes long.

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