Lettuce - Iceberg **Local**
Iceberg lettuce is a specialty – we've been growing it for over 50 years! Icebergs are the most popular variety of lettuce, and are commonly used in salads, sandwiches and tacos.
How do we make sure we provide top quality lettuce?
Simple - we grow it ourselves! Sam draws on three generations of horticultural experience to grow beautifully fresh, full-flavoured lettuce. Lettuce is a perennial crop, so we plant all year round. We harvest when the leaves are crisp and turgid, the head is full in colour (generally the darker the leaves, the more nutritious the lettuce), and the head is firm and springy (very dense heads are an indication that the lettuce is overly mature and will taste bitter, very loose heads are an indication that the lettuce is immature and will not be sweet). We also make sure the head is free of any signs of decay (usually manifesting as decomposition patches on the skin), there are no yellow or wilting leaves on the plant, and the shape of the head is close to symmetrical.
Where do we source our lettuce from?
Most of our lettuce comes direct from our farm - planted, cultivated and hand-picked by Sam and the team. We harvest in the morning, while the lettuce is still crisp and fresh from the morning dew. When the conditions aren't favourable to growing lettuce on our farm (due to seasonality, crop rotation etc), we source lettuce from farmers in areas with similar climatic conditions (such as the Werribee region and the surrounds of Bacchus Marsh).
What is the best way to keep lettuce?
Lettuce keeps best in an airtight plastic bag in the fridge (optimal storage conditions are at 0°C and 95% relative humidity). Freeze damage will occur if the lettuce is stored below minus 0.2°C (meaning the lettuce will decay rapidly when returned to room temperature), so make sure your fridge is set at the right temperature. It's also a good idea to store lettuce away from fruit - fruit emits ethylene gas, which will result in speedier lettuce decay (over-exposure to ethylene commonly results in a disease known as 'russet spotting', which is manifested as brown pigmentation in the lettuce leaves).
Lettuce nutritional information
As a general rule, the darker the lettuce leaves, the higher the nutrient level. Lettuce is a great source of vitamin A and iron, and a solid source of potassium, thiamine, calcium, phosphorous, iron and vitamin C. Interestingly, lettuce contains a substance known as lactucarium (or 'lettuce opium'), which is an opium-like substance recognized for inducing sleep in humans - this explains why the Romans and Egyptians used to eat lettuce after their dinner!
Serving tips and suggestions
It's a good idea to wash the lettuce leaves before you serve them. A quick and easy way to do this is with a salad spinner.