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Salad Greens

Posted by Ron_and_Patty z7 GA (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 17, 04 at 12:11

How many different mixes do you offer at the market, and which ones do the best for you? We are thinking of offering a "cool" mix (not spicy), a hot mix (that could double as a stir-fry), a red mix, and maybe even a special mix with edible flowers. It will be our 1st year with greens at the market, so this may be getting too complicated. Any advice or suggestions?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Salad Greens

WoW! It sounds great... but like an awful lot of work. Do you have a big market? Are there other growers there who already offer various mixes? Will you be selling other things too, or specializing in greens? I bet restaurants would love to be able to get some of each kind of mix, so that every dish didn't come out on the bed of same-old greens.

We have just finished our second season selling at a small (6 farms, plus craft vendors and bakers) farmer's market and found that it is hard to get people to try a new mix if they already have their old favorite available. We sell a mix of 6-8 types of lettuce, with leaves slightly bigger than those in your average mesclun. My theory was that there must be a market for just lettuce... those people who were vaguely suspicious of other types of greens... and I turned out to be right, but we had to put up a big sign that said JUST LETTUCE in order to get their attention. We get a lot of comments on how crunchy our mix is, and that's because the older leaves are big enough to have a substantial midrib. Of course you make more money on it too, since it is a LOT less labor to wash bigger leaves.

Katey


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RE: Salad Greens

Thanks Katey, it does sound good, but as you mentioned, also a lot of work! Our market is a medium size, with a lot of energy going in to growing it this coming year. But not a single grower is there with salad greens or just plain lettuce! Our specialty has been heirloom tomatoes, and we offer garlic, cucumbers, and other veggies. We have yet to approach any restaurants, but plan to do so as soon as we have a mix to show them.

I really like your just lettuce idea. I don't think people really enjoy a sald that is too hot and tough...I don't. And less work sounds good too.

Thanks for the quick response. BTW, do you sell in bags or containers?


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RE: Salad Greens

Please look into the liability issue and consider purchasing an insurance policy (some state farmers market associations have affordable policies available to their farmers) E. Coli has at times been linked to salad greens (as well as sprouts) and salmonella is not unheard of in salad greens. I'm sure you are very careful - but it only takes a small amount of bacteria to escape to cost millions of dollars in attorney fees and lawsuits


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RE: Salad Greens

We sell loose mix at the market... people fill up a grocery-store style produce bag with however much they want, and we weigh it.

We have also sold bagged mix, with our label on the bag, in small markets nearby, and larger quantities to caterers and restaurants.

Around here, the wholesale price for greens like this is $8/pound, with retail being anywhere from $10 to $14, depending on the outlet.

The liability question may be an issue for you; also look into state laws on "processed" foods. There may be a good reason no one in your market is doing mix. (or maybe it's just tough to keep lettuce from going bitter in the summer in Georgia!) I make it clear to our wholesale customers that, while I wash the greens in our well water during the sorting process, we do not have a licensed and inspected washing facility and they have to make the call as to whether what I do is good enough. It's the same thing I tell our retail customers if they ask. Our risk is fairly low because we don't use animal manures on the garden. The new organic standards (we're certified, as are all but one of the other local growers) are so rigorous on composting animal manures that I doubt it would be an issue anyway. I suspect that the E. Coli and salmonella problems on commercial salad greens come more from inadequate human sanitation (workers not washing their hands, to put it bluntly) than from animal manures.

Katey


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RE: Salad Greens

I don't know if you've already done some salad mix production, but we found this year that it's horrifically labor intensive: preventing or removing weeds, preventing or removing insect damage, picking, washing, drying, and packing all add up to an amazing amount of time. Multiply by the number of mixes you plan to offer, and I shudder to think :-(

If you haven't done this on a production basis before, I highly recommend starting with one or two mixes and refining your process before expanding your offerings.

Kevin


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RE: Salad Greens

Thanks Nancy and Katey for the heads-up regarding the legal and health issues. I will make sure I understand the laws here in GA. I did read on another forum that the FDA may implement regulations through HAACP--Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (what????), but it appears that that was a few years ago. I found the website, and see rules for juice, dairy, and meat. But so far, I have not found anything on salad mix. I'll keep looking.

Although we are not certified organic, and will never be, we grow using organic methods. We do not use any animal manure...instead lots of compost, and Ron harvests kudzu if we run low on greens!

Katey, great info on market prices and processes. Thanks so much. It would sure save a lot of time if we didn't have to pre-bag. So allowing customers to bag their own in an open market is acceptable to customers and the powers that be?

And Kevin, I think you are correct in reeling me in...we have never sold greens at the market, so we would be new at this. I am already a bit overwhelmed just trying to figure out what would make a good mix, let alone actually grow it, process it, and sell it! ;-)

Thanks,
Patty


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RE: Salad Greens

The impression I get is that the degree to which food safety laws apply to fresh produce differ considerably from state to state. In some places, as soon as you bag something it is "processed food" and you need an inspected facility. We've been eyeing the possibility of freezing tomatoes whole in plastic bags and selling them to restaurants over the winter (we have a big market for locally grwon food hereabouts) but can't get anyone in the state to commit on whether freezing constitutes "processing" or not.

We have our home kitchen inspected so that we can legally sell baked goods that don't require refrigeration, but that branch of the Dept. of Ag. couldn't care less what we do with our fresh produce. And anyway, the state is broke and we haven't seen the kitchen inspector in over a year.

HAACP can be a huge pain for not much gain. Ask for a copy of the regulation for small-scale poultry processors if you want to see what's involved.

Katey


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RE: Salad Greens

If you have not sold greens at market my advice is to keep it simple. start with a single kind of salad mix and see if that even sells.

Since this would be a new thing at youyr market you will have to do some educating. people who know about salad mix are also used to paying around $2.50 for a 6oz bag. It is hard to make any money selling so cheaply if you are doing this by hand rather than by machine. And you will have to convince them that it is worth the extra money. for people who have never had a mixed greens salad you will have to teach them that this is a wonderful thing and well worth buying weekly

Kevin brings up weeds. A salad mix bed has to be weed free. i hoe the beds several times before planting and than hoe about every 5 days until it is time to cut.

Post harvest handling can also be difficult-you have to wash and dry the greens and get the refrigerated for best results. After growing salad for 3 years and using a laundry bag to dry greens with I invested in a commercial salad spinner which has saved me time, my rotator cuffs and dries the greens better.

I pack my greens into bags a with a nice label on them saying what's in the bag. I used to do the salad greens looses but lost a lot of product in the constant handling and it took a long time to weigh up things. I get a lot more sold now that I prepackage it before market

Lucy


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RE: Salad Greens

Thanks Lucy. As much as we would love to do the 4 mixes I mentioned, I asked for advice because we need it! So, one mix it is. We have about 900 square feet of garden space to allocate to salad greens, and I have a list of 19 lettuces and other greens that I want to try. It took a lot of time to get the list down to only 19:

Arugula
Lollo Rossa
Flame
Mascara
Black Seed Simpson
Green Oak Leaf
Tango
Speckled
Golden Purslane
Jericho
Mache
Radicchio
Buttercrunch
Lambs Quarters
Tatsoi
Mitsuba
Mizuna
Red Giant Mustard
Salad Burnet

I still don't have a planting schedule put together, but I am hoping these will give us a good selection for a larger part of the season. We are trying to get all the beds prepared and get a cover crop growing before it gets too cold. Hopefully that will help keep some of the weeds out. But I'll keep my hoe handy!

We are leaning toward bagging the mix as well because we have a lot of folks bring their dogs and children to the market. I don't mind loosing a yellow pear tomato to a young curious child, but would hate to see them grab a handful of salad and scare off on-looking customers!

Also, we are thinking of planting some of the more tender lettuce on the north side of tomatoes to shield them from the sun. Does anyone else do that?

Patty


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RE: Salad Greens

Salad greens are a lot of work, but if you have early and late markets they are a great income generator for early spring and mid-fall. At $10-14(baby) dollars a pound it adds up quickly, but a commerical sized spinner in a must and is a couple hundred dollar, at least, investment.

We grow ours in raised beds. It makes harvesting a TON easier and we can get quite a lot our of a 3'x8' bed. We plant pretty heavy and come in one week (3-4 after planting) and cut strips into the bed taking about half of the lettuce out. This we sell as "baby" 1-2 weeks later we come back and harvest the rest of the bed which has filled out to the entire bed. This way we have less problems with bottom leaves dieing.

There is a guy this way who specilizes in greens. He likes to bring 150-200 pounds a week and sells ot at 10-14 a pound ($1500-2800 a week JUST from his lettuce). He never brings any home and sells to restauraunts as well. Think about how much labor you can do for that kind of money...


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RE: Salad Greens

You know, I'm not sold yet on the need for a commercial-sized spinner. I do know that I HATE the type that you have to crank the handle on, but we have an OXO-brand consumer salad spinner that has a plunger on the top to activate the spinning action. You don't have to pick it up or hold it down to use it and so far it has lasted through two seasons of commercial production. I like the every-few-minutes break from washing as it keeps me from stiffening up in one position.

Some people use old washing machines (available for free around here, as the dump has a disposal charge) as salad spinners (think 'gentle'cycle).

katey


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RE: Salad Greens

hmeadq, you are right. We could do a lot of labor for that kind on money! If we make half that much on greens, we would be thrilled.

I have a small plot planted with fall lettuce and greens. Not the mix mentioned above, but seeds we already had on hand. Today, I did a test run. I went out with a tote and scissors, and started cutting. I was able to catch most of it before it hit the ground. I brought it in and triple washed in the double sinks, used the cheap little spinner, and filled three gallon zip-locks with enough left over for lunch. The leaves were bigger than they should have been, but it was still tasty. However, I don't think I would pay $5 for that gallon bag of greens. It didn't knock my socks off. The good news is that the whole process took a little over 30 minutes.

Katey, we really like the washing machine option. We have a place in the garage...I will keep researching. Thanks for all the advice. If anyone has experience with the varieties I listed above, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks,
Patty


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RE: Salad Greens

We put our greens after washing into a big mesh bag that shops sell for folks to wash pantyhose etc in. Put it in the tumbler drier on delcate/cold for 10 minutes...


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RE: Salad Greens

I purchased a used Dynamic Salad Spinner last year and can't imagine growing and packaging greens without it. Extremely effective and a time saver. I don't know about you but anything I can do to save time on harvesting day is essential.


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RE: Salad Greens

Specific info on the varieties I have tried (bear in mind this is for my locality in the PNW, may not be true for you!)

Arugula (grows fast, doesn't get insect-chewed, some customers don't like the taste)

Green Oak Leaf (makes a great whole lettuce or baby lettuce, fast grower)

Golden Purslane (grows very well in summer heat but planted as late as August did not do well (we had a very cool wet late Aug/Sep here). Has a rather "chunky" texture which doesn't mix very well with other greens as a whole stem with leaves, but the leaves alone are fine)

Mache (cool weather crop, doesn't like summer heat. Slow grower and very low to the ground so not much use in a mixed bed, it never gets high enough to cut!)

Tatsoi
Mizuna
Red Giant Mustard
(these three were martyrs to flea beetles during the summer but good in the spring. Tend to bolt when warm weather comes but you can sell/eat the flower stalks too, taste like broccoli)

Hope that helps

Kevin


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RE: Salad Greens

Patty,

Don't worry about how much YOU would pay. We always joke that we cannot afford to eat out of our garden! That's worth how much!?!

But look at your 5 dollar gallon bag and compare it to a bag of mixed greens from the grocrey store. Up here its 4-6 oz bag for up to $5 depending on the brand and what is exactly in the bag. We were using 1 gallon bags and found they comfortably fit 1/2 pound of lettuce. We sold them for 4 to 5 and never brought one home, and often had people ask for them. We did put a little sign next to them saying approx 1/2 pound (although we did weigh each bag so we know they were 1/2). I was thinking about putting a bag of Dole grocrey store mixed baby greens next to ours with a sign ($4.50 - 1/4 pound) Just so people saw the diffrence.

We had a friend say $10 a pound thats a ton! We asked him "Does your wife buy bagged lettuce at the store." He said she did. How much do you think is in those, we asked. He said about a pound. Then we SHOWED him a pound of loose leaf fresh lettuce. Suddenly he didn't think it was such a huge price anymore.

We can harvest 20-30 pounds in 1-2 hours (one person and depending on our beds) That is a lot of time, especially since our rule is that lettuce and greens are harvested less then 14 hours before the start of market, so it usally gets picked as the sun is setting, but you can taste the diffrence, especially important with samples!


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RE: Salad Greens

Sorry for not responding sooner. We have been planting garlic all week. Thanks for all the info on spinners. Not sure which way we will go, but we certainly have a lot of good advice.

Kevin, thanks for the info on specific varieties. I think we are going to cut back to 6-8 of the items listed previously. You sure have been a tremendous help!

hmeaq, great advice. We were amazed that folks would pay so much for tomatoes, loofahs, garlic, etc. (We never had that great tomato sandwich, because it was more important to take that tomato to the market! I get your point!!!) But when you look at the choices at the local grocery store, we realized that they were really getting a bargain. So I am sure the same holds true for the salad mix. We will give it our best shot, with one mix, consisting of 6-8 varieties. And we will try to offer the freshest salad possible.

I can't wait to see if we can harvest 20-30 pounds in one hour. We need to harvest 50 pounds for market to meet our selling goals. So since there are two of us, hopefully that is doable.

Sincere thanks to all,
Patty


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RE: Salad Greens

I do a farmer's market in Savannah GA and typically offer two types of salad blends: spicy greens mix and fall (spring) salad blend.

The spicy greens mix is composed of equal amounts of giant red mustard, mizuna, arugula, and pac choi. Surprisingly, I have may devotees to this mix!

The fall salad blend is 50% lettuce and a mix of other greens.

I pre-package these in 6 ounce bags and sell them for $3 each. I almost always sell out.

Good luck with your fall greens, deb


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RE: Salad Greens

Thanks Deb--good to know that the spicy mix does sell here in the south. I wonder if the spicy green mix is used as a salad or stir-fry mix. We are outside of Atlanta, and have a very diverse crowd at our market, so I think we could do well with it also. I am so glad to hear that you sellout most of the time.

I guess I had too much iceberg growing up, and still havent adjusted to the arugula and mustard flavors. I love the fresh leaf lettuces and milder salad mixes! But if market customers want spicy, well, we may have to try a spicy mix after we get our system in place. I know there is a very long post from Everett talking about his summer mix that he was offering and doing very well. So it does seem lots of folks have a more sophisticated palate that I do!


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RE: Salad Greens

I have found that if you have the spicier/hotter things as less than half the mix, with lettuce, then most people didn't seem to care. That said, having both is probably good, as some people I have sold to want JUST lettuce! One of them likes arugula, but wants it separately, so she can add it.


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RE: Salad Greens

Remember, harvesting is less than half the work. I can harvest and process (wash, dry, and weigh) 5-10 pounds per hour, and I'm picking small heads of lettuce, whole, washing them whole, and then cutting the base off to get loose leaves for drying and bagging. If you are cutting loose leaves to begin with it will take a lot more time to overhaul.

On the bright side, we have five or six pounds of lettuce mix left over from the last farmer's market of the season that we didn't go to (when we woke up at five it was pouring and blowing and we can't nail our canopy to the pavement at our late fall location) which was the 16th of October and it's STILL in good shape. The cut ribs are starting to brown now so I wouldn't sell it but we are enjoying an infinity of salads that are usually harder for us to come by this time of year. You can definitely pick and process your mix several days ahead of market so long as you have somewhere to store it in the meantime. (We calculated that a new refrigerator uses a tiny fraction of the energy that the twenty year old one that came with the house does; in fact, that it would pay for itself in six years. We moved the old one out to the barn and plug it in if we need to store stuff for market that won't do well in the cellar.)

Katey


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RE: Salad Greens

Raised bed loose leaf saves us a TON of time in harvesting and then washing! I'd try a few permenant raised beds and see if you like it.

We sold a "Heirloom Mix" this past year. Many of the market varieties are heirlooms, Flame, Rovers, Deer Tounge and on-and on... People loved it... Just an idea


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RE: Salad Greens

Yes hmeadq, we had thought of the Heirloom Salad mix, and I think it would be a good mix at our market. And we are in the process of adding more raised beds.
Dibbit, I think you are echoing my thoughts. The spicy stuff should not overwhelm the mix. Glad to hear that your experience justifies our thinking.
And Katey, I see your point. You harvest, wash, bag, keep cool, get it to market, display it, AND THEN sell it! Well, we are going to give it our best shot, learn from our mistakes, and then try again.

Thank you all so much for such great advice. We have 16-17 crops we are hoping to sell at the market this coming season, so I will probably be back with more questions. In the mean time, I have my winter "cubicle job" to help with expenses while I pick out the window, craving to be outside...and sneaking an occasional pick at Garden Web during lunch hour!


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RE: Salad Greens

One other thing to think about is growing some nasturtiums to toss into the mix for color. You would have to start them early so that they would be blooming in time to go into your mix but it can be a real eye-catcher. I saw this at one of our local markets and thought it was a great idea. I may try it next year.


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RE: Salad Greens

the list of flowers you can add is quite exstensive. ive
used calendula, coreopsis, chives, viola and buds from kales and mustards etc. i do what the people at dynamic
tell you not to do. i lift the lid of my spinner while its
still spinning and add the petals then.


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RE: Salad Greens

I love the eye appeal of the edible flowers, and we tried some from the garden this year. As far as taste, we didn't get too excited, but I guess that isn't the point. We tried nasturtiums and calendula. I also added some pineapple sage flowers, beautiful red color and a hint of a sweet fruity taste. I recently saw some for sale at a farmer's market...$2.00 for approximately 24 mixed flowers, mostly nasturtiums and violas.


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RE: Salad Greens

Have a brilliant salad mix that we are starting to sell locally. Only direct to restaurants.
No lettuce.Just Orach, Amaranthus Red, Purple Shiso, Russian Kale,Bullsblood Beet, Golden Beet, Red Mustard, Green Mustard, Mizuna, Daikon, Fennel, Basil, Wild rocket. All just the leaves.
Sold in permiable ziplock bags that are expensive but they keep the salad well under refridgerated conditions.
The restaurants find they can get heaps of lettuce greens and add our mix to it although some do just use it as a complete salad.
We get $14 per kilo (2.3 pounds).
Glenn


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RE: Salad Greens

Well, we started some Jericho Lettuce yesterday, so I came back to read all the great advice given on this thread. After all the spreadsheets, hair-pulling, advice, and other decision making tools/tactics, we ended up with one very simple mix: Green Oak Leaf, Lolla Rossa, and Tango. We have some edible flowers in the line-up as well as some Radicchio. And the Jericho lettuce.

We have some large coolers to transport the lettuce and salad mix to the market. We are considering purchasing a plain Jane large capacity fridge to use for cooling greens from harvest to market time. (Found one at Lowe's for $397). But we are looking at used commercial models too.

With no experience, I am calculating that we could harvest 30-40 heads of Jericho for each market, and 15-20 bags of salad mix (6-8 ounces...still haven't decided). So is the refrigerator a good idea? How do you keep your greens cool between harvest and market?

Thanks...again,
Patty


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RE: Salad Greens

I know everyone else will think I am crazy but I don't wash my lettuce mix at all and most of our other greens.
We think they keep longer and so do our customers. We plant our cuttimg greens close so we get very little splash up dirt on our greens. I let our customers know we do not wash them and why. In our market there are alot of lettuce vendors but we have a loyal following that swears ours last longer are not that dirty.
the garlic lady


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RE: Salad Greens

That's great Garlic Lady, and that sure saves a lot of time. I feel ripped off and a bit nauseous when I do buy salad or spinach from the grocery store to find that black green slime stuff from the moisture.

Do you charge as much as the washed stuff? And after you harvest, do you use refrigeration?

Thanks,
Patty


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RE: Salad Greens

I charge a little less But Much LESS time is spent. We don't have a refrigerator. I cut lettuces the evening before market. If it is cool outside I leave them on our back deck or in the truck. If it is warm then we have our air conditioning on in our garlic shed so i store them in there. I either have them in kitchen size trash bags or I bag them in small bags ready to sell and have them in crates ready for market. I have never used a cooler for my lettuce. Our Saturday market is from 6-12 and is indoors. My mid week market starts is from 7-11. If it is kept in the shade and in the plastic bags it does keep fine. I usually pick the right amount and have one or 2 bags left. They ride home in the front of the truck with me and end up as salad for us or friends.


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RE: Salad Greens

  • Posted by Patris 9 Gulf Coast (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 16, 05 at 7:23

How about selling potted greens? I love the idea of mixed greens, but I am not able to do the picking.
If selling small potted greens was an option, then that I could handle.

Maybe even do a larger potted version with 2 or 3 varities. Have any of you tried this or am I just crazy for even thinking such a thing? LOL

Appreciate any and all thoughts (pros....cons).

Patris


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RE: Salad Greens

Patris, we have never tried to sell any, but I bet there is a market. We gave some lettuce seed to a friend to try and grow, but she just couldn't seem to get it to grow. So if it was already at a stage where some one could buy it and cut some for a salad that day, then have another one in a week or so, I think people would go for that. We had three bowls of greens growing last winter, and it was really nice! I think you should be able to take small amounts of greens from a pot for a month or so. So what about having them bring back their pot when it is through producing, for a discount on the next one?

Patty


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RE: Salad Greens

I've sold 'Salad Bowls' with great success at market. I use a fiber pot, 8" deep & about a foot across. We put a fat chive plant in the center (they're usually flowering when they go to market) surrounded by greens & a few violas for color & as edible flowers. We charge $12-$18.00.

This is a great thread! There are such good ideas. We have a hard time w/ the state health dept. here on bagging greens for market. They are convinced that all bagged greens are assumed (by the consumer)to be washed in a commercail kitchen and ready to eat. Even a giant "wash and enjoy" label won't satisfy them. So....we can't pre-bag. What they want is to have the greens in a large, open container that customers bag themselves. That way, the customer kows that they should be washed at home. (you can see this really gets me going). NOW, there are hundreds of hands going into that open container, bagging salad, but not seen as a health issue!!

I've taken to putting out a box of latex gloves - it strikes me as so unsanitary.

Not to mention , how hard it is to keep greens looking good under those conditions. We have a very high UV load here - even if it's cool, they'll go down quickly, even under a canopy.

Thanks for the advice & information!


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RE: Salad Greens

I don't do it but have see it done. They do sell. Most have several lettuces herbs and other greens like arugala. I have even seen them with a patio cherry tomato plant already producing too.


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RE: Salad Greens

I thought I was the only one to consider selling greens without washing. Last summer I planted my rows close together in a four foot bed in pure leaf mold. This acted like a sponge so there was no splashing of dirt. The growth rate was phenomenal. I used the certified organic gourmet lettuce mix from High Mowing Seeds-- $44/lb. I prefer the lettuce only mix and let it get larger than standard mesclun. It was still delicious. I ate a huge salad every day right out of the garden without washing. I never found a bit of dirt. Good luck.

David


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RE: Salad Greens

  • Posted by Patris 9 Gulf Coast (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 16, 05 at 13:06

Love the idea of a herb or two and I have dozens of grape tomotoe babies that are up about an inch tall.

$12-18 each? That is great! Think I'll have to give this a try!!

Thanks all
Patris


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RE: Salad Greens

I am also planing on growing salad mix this year and have found this thread very helpful. I went to a conference last week and they talked about a problem a restaurant had with Salmonella and traced it back to washing practice of grower. Tomatoes will take up water if water temp is cooler than the tomato. The bacteria was in the soil and transferred to the water then to tomatoes. CAN THIS HAPPEN WITH OTHER PRODUCE? Now they recommend washing in chlorinated water. I have well water and a little bleach will go a long way to a safer product. I do not use animal bi-products but are a lot of wild animals in area. Just something to think about. Patty


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RE: Salad Greens

I would recommedn you drop the Green Oak Leaf - in my experience it is too soft (and light weight). You will probably have a tough time growing radicchio when the heat and humidity start up. I suggest you add a few asian greens for variety of texture and flavor. Tatsoi, mizuna and red giant mustard are great additions. For color add Bull's Blood beet greens. For quick "bulk" grow Kogane cabbage, cut it young and add it to the mix.


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RE: Salad Greens

I wash my greens and spin them dry in a commercial salad spinner before going into the fridge. I have tested washed vs unwashed and I find my washed greens tend to last 10 to 13 days longer than unwashed (which will last 10 days or so in the fridge). I know washing cools the leaves down fast and that stops the greens from breaking down for a while in the fridge. getting the field heat off of things that will not be refrigerated fpor more than 12 to 24 hours probably would not make much of a difference in how long it will store.

I put salt and vinegar in the wash water to sanitize and get rid of any slugs hanging onto leaves. Plus the salt will hydrate any flacid leaves.


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RE: Salad Greens

Right now my garden is mostly in tomatoes and basil that I will be selling to some nearby restaurants. However, I am thinking about trying to grow some salad mix in the fall and into the early winter in a small hoophouse I have.
I have a question about washing and drying the mix. Is it possible to just pick the mix as is and let the customer (in this case probably a restaurant) wash and dry the mix? Later on in the season i will speak with the chefs, but I just wanted to bring up the question now.
Thanks,
Mike


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RE: Salad Greens

I grow hydroponically so my greens don't have dirt, but I think my reasoning applies to your greens as well. If your greens "look" clean" (no clods of dirt, leaves, etc. I would not wash them for the following reasons:

1. Unless you have an FDA approved food processing facility then the greens really should be washed by the chef again when he gets them. This double washing can unnecessarily injure delicate tissues. Your washihg would be what is called "field washed", not a final-ready-to-serve washed.

2. It is a lot more work and you have to be careful with wash water contamination, etc...


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RE: Salad Greens

If you could use some sort of mulch, there is litle washing necessary. I cover the beds with 2" of wood chip mulch, then at planting, scrape away the mulch to the sides, down to bare soil making a "trench" and scatter lettuce seed. I take the wood chips and screen them through 1/2" hardware cloth to get a finer grade, which I sprinkle on the seeds about 1/4" thick. Most lettuce will germinate through the thin mulch and the greens will stay remarkably clean.


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