Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lettuce Anyone?

I was reading a story from Lehman's Country Store in Kidron, Ohio.  Their retail store was hit with a freak flash flood a few days ago.  They had 18-30 inches of nasty mud and debris as the powerful wave moved through their store.  The damage (such as moving a 18 cu freezer from one end of the large store to the other) to their inventory and structure was as amazing as it was sad.

Anyone who has had to deal with natural disasters and the following clean-up knows it initially is a shock, then hopelessness, and then moving forward.  Lehman's originally served the non-electric plain people of Ohio.  A family run business, they have become popular with those of us who like good sturdy quality, make in the USA and prefer to use natural ingredients and products.

They started and continued to run the business as if they were serving the Lord - OK, they are serving the Lord - but they treat their customers with customer service that revolves around, "treat others as you would want to be treated."  And, a few days ago, that came back to them by customers & neighbors who appreciate that ethic.

Besides their employees, they had about eighty volunteers show up to help.  What might have taken months or closed the business, took less than a week.  It reminded me of the Amish from Michigan that showed up at my folks place when it had been destroyed by a tornado in 1965.  They show up unasked, they quietly do quality work and they leave expecting nothing in return.  Whether you embrace their religion or mode of life, their doctrine regarding helping others it's something all could emulate for a better world.
While on Lehman's web site, I looked at their heirloom garden seeds and that reminded me of planting lettuce.  Lettuce planting time will be here before you know it and it's time to think about what kind you want to plant.

Lettuce seeds may be purchased in most any garden shops, farm and box stores and catalogs.  Most of our local nurseries offer seeds and plant sets.

Here are just a few Heirloom Lettuces and who offers seeds.  Also, check locally for these and others.
Yugoslavian Red Butterhead Lettuce   (mild flavor)
Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce    (sharp flavor)
Black-Seeded Simpson Lettuce   (mild flavor)
Reine des Glaces Lettuce  (sweet flavor)
Yugoslavian Red Lettuce   (mild flavor
Heirloom Seeds:
Key Lime Lettuce (sweet flavor)
Pablo Lettuce (sweet flavor
Seed Savers Exchange:
Susan's Red Bib Lettuce (mild flavor)
Bronze Arrowhead  (flavorful)
Diane's Seeds:
Forellenschluss Lettuce (flavorful)
Annie's Annuals: 
Drunken Woman Fuzzy Headed Lettuce (savory flavor)
Mascara Lettuce (mild flavor)
Renee's Garden Seeds:
Garden Ferns Lettuce  (sweet flavor)
Merveille De Quatre Saisons  (flavorful)

Heirloom, organic and newer varieties have many fine flavors, texture, size and shape, length to germination, rate of bolt and variety of lettuce.  Besides being a good food choice, they make great edging for the garden, look pretty in pots, fill in empty spots in the perennial beds, and last most of the summer.

If your garden is ready and prepared, plant the seeds before the last frost (see seed packets for times).  If you must wait until later in the spring, consider plant sets to get the earliest production.  Lettuce makes a great "sharing" vegetable - pick a bag and take to work, to church, to neighbors and family.  Share the love. 

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