Iceberg lettuce shortage? Kale Caesar!

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As supermarkets ration veg because of bad weather in Spain and Italy, is the shortage of iceberg lettuce the big deal many are making it out to be?

Riverford founder, and organic veg box pioneer, Guy Watson thinks not. ‘We need to relearn the potential of great British veg, and embrace seasonal British winter crops instead of relying on imports. Right now our fields are brimming with wonderful cabbages, leeks, kale, swede and flavourful greenery that have much more to offer than imported courgettes or watery iceberg lettuce.’

He continues, ‘A lack of lettuce isn’t a big deal. One of our most popular winter dishes in the Riverford Field Kitchen restaurant is our Kale Caesar Salad; it is always a hit with diners, who are rarely aware that kale can be a far superior substitute for bland salad leaves. It’s also really easy to make a vibrant winter slaw using beetroot, carrot, red cabbage and swede – all in season and growing in British fields right now.’

As farmers ourselves, we know how devastating bad weather can be for a crop, and have a commitment to support our growers, and minimise waste by having much more generous specifications than the supermarkets.

‘In my experience, when I was growing for supermarkets, up to a half of all veg was often left in the field due to unnecessarily tight cosmetic specifications. We don’t believe in such needless waste so for example, we’re currently including undersized broccoli heads in our veg boxes, but just giving more of them. Because we grow, source, pack and deliver our veg ourselves, we have the flexibility to widen our specifications.’

With 30 years of veg growing experience behind us, we really know how to make great British veg sing. Our recipe hub is packed with recipes to help bring British veg to life, such as Kale, Chorizo and Potato Hash, Moroccan Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas and Hazelnuts, and Kale, Fruit and Nut Pilaf.

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6 responses to “Iceberg lettuce shortage? Kale Caesar!

  1. I never fancy lettuce in winter anyway – coleslaw and all its relatives, but cucumber, lettuce and toms, no thanks. Eat seasonally, as Guy says, it’s better for your body, the environment, everything!

  2. prefer fresh home grown cabbage any day!

  3. I do quite like lettuce even in winter, but iceberg never!

    My lettuce of choice in winter is my allotment grown and cos-like Winter Density – it’s fine outside until the end of the year and I can keep some going in a cold greenhouse after that. Pain de sucre, radicchio (Rosso di Verona) both stay fine outside – we’re still cropping them. And Chicory – grown outdoors but then dug up and forced as winter proceeds – is also great. All bar Winter Density are a bit bitter it’s true but they do well in mixes with more traditional winter veg with a good dressing and cook in variety of great ways.

  4. Takes me back to raw cabbage at school. Not very appetising.

  5. I’d gladly swap taste-free, limp lettuce for finely sliced cabbage or many other leafy greens.

  6. I love my lettuce even in Winter. It goes shredded into omelettes, mashed potatoes, stirfries, sauces for extra greens. Thank you Riverford!

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