Food Cooperative connects producers and consumers
Last fall, a wonderful new cooperative venture began, called "Oklahoma Food." This non-profit marketing network matches up Oklahoma farmers and consumers. Available items include fresh vegetables, ranch meats grown without herbicides and pesticides, cheeses, jellies, salsas, nuts,
eggs from non-caged chickens and much more. Order monthly or bi-monthly directly from the farmers, and pick up your food a week later.
If you're tired of the "nutritionally challenged" food at chain supermarkets, try Oklahoma Food! Call 613-4688 or http://www.oklahomafood.org
Lia's Popular Salad
My most popular salad recipe! It puts to rest any notion that lettuce is just for rabbits. I have never seen anyone able to stop at just one helping of this salad.
Gently rinse and dry the greens. Soak dried tomatoes in very hot water for 10-15 minutes or until soft. Chop. Toast nuts in a dry skillet until just barely browned. Chop carrots. Crumple up feta. Toss greens together with salad dressing, then add other ingredients. Proceed directly to salad-eating heaven!
Lia's Growing Tips
This is my experience in growing lettuce here in Central Oklahoma.
As with most veggies, a fertile, loose soil is key. Add lots of compost, water it and wait a week or so for the weed seeds to germinate, then turn them into the soil with a trowel. Plant seed and just barely cover with fine soil or compost. Water daily until seedlings appear, then water every few days or weekly after that. Seed can be broadcast for "cut-and-come-again": cut leaves 1" above the ground when plants are still small. Add some more compost, water, and watch as the plant grows again for a 2nd or even 3rd harvest.
Lettuce can also be started in flats and transplanted out. This is especially good for growing full size heads, or when the soil temperature outside is too warm (lettuce germinates poorly when soil is over 75 degrees.)
I begin planting lettuce in February under solar cones or cold frames, and continue planting small patches every 2-3 weeks after that. By late March, the first batch is ready for harvest. My last spring planting is in May, for a June crop of baby greens. Lettuce prefers cool weather, and will get bitter and go to seed during our hot summers.
In September, as soon as the drought and heat ease, I'll begin planting again every few weeks until late fall. As the weather cools, lettuce will gradually harden off. Also, with the shorter daylight hours, lettuce grows much more slowly. By providing it with some kind of protection (i.e. solar cones, reemay "garden cloth", or a cold frame), we can harvest lettuce for most of the winter. The red lettuces seem particularly hardy. If temps drop to the teens and below, we'll harvest the rest of the crop and then rely on hardier winter greens such as spinach, mizuna and mache to keep our winter salad bowl full.
Lettuce, along with the sunflower, artichoke and daisy, is a member of the far-ranging compositae family. All share the characteristic of producing flowers on a seed stalk that grows from the center of the plant. Lettuce is an easy plant with which to venture into the world of seed-saving. As the weather gets hot, the plant will bolt (go to seed); a stalk begins growing at the center of the head and will eventually form tiny flowers. When the seeds become dry, top the plant with a paper sack, hold tight around the stem, and shake vigorously. Much of what you get will be seed chaff; remove if desired by shaking seed thru a fine mesh screen. Store lettuce seed in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 3 years.