Saturday, January 30, 2010

Food Finds: Crystal Organics lettuce

Posted By on Sat, Jan 30, 2010 at 3:30 PM

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In the States, we sometimes forget that a simple salad has the power to take center stage at any meal. In France, salads are artfully arranged and elevated with emulsified dressings singing with the tang of vinegar. In short, the French treat lettuce with respect. Why do salads get such a bum rap here? Maybe it's those sad lettuces you see at the supermarket. Lifeless leaves cramped into an airtight bag seem so uninteresting and uninspiring. There is hope, however, from Crystal Organic Farm.

As the leaves start to change, Crystal's Nicolas Donck is preoccupied with some leaves of his own. Farmer Donck's lettuces are the most pristine salad leaves out there. He grows tight little bunches of intensely peppery arugula, a delicate mix of baby lettuces, and the most irresistible of them all, the endive mix – a small homage to Donck's Belgian heritage. The mix contains two types of escarole, radicchio, frisée and the occasional pleasant oops – like a bit of kale or beet greens. It's too pretty to tear into bite-sized pieces.

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(Photo by Jennifer Zyman)

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