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Veg of the Month: Winter Salad

Veg of the Month: Winter Salad

When you’re craving something crisp and crunchy during the shortest days of the year but have had enough of raw root vegetables, look no further than winter salad, a cornucopia of colours and flavours that suggest the distant promise of spring.
Here’s a word from John English, our Head Grower:
Winter salad is the main crop from our polytunnels from November to March. We plant up the tunnels progressively from mid-October through early December which gives us a regular supply of salad leaves from around the week before Christmas until the first weeks of spring.

The greens grow very slowly in the short and dark days of mid-winter but they’re also incredibly hardy and will survive through the worst frosts. By the end of March the winter salad will be growing faster than we can keep up with picking it, as the warmer temperatures encourage it to go to flower and then go to seed. The bigger and the older the plants, the hotter and more mustardy the leaves become, so if you prefer your winter salad on the milder side then now is the best time to enjoy it.

We sow more than 20 varieties for a diverse combination of colours, flavours and leaf shapes. Some of their names are marvellous: Green in Snow, Ruby Streaks, Golden Frills, Vibrant Joy and Purple Wave come to mind. Flavours vary from sweet (small multi-coloured Pak Choi leaves) to a mild, rocket-y pepperiness. Fiercer mustards like 'Osaka Purple' can become as hot as horseradish and a serious proposition if you let them grow too big (we try not to put too many of those into the salad bags!).

Most of our mix is made up of oriental brassica varieties. We also include some non-brassica leaves that grow well through the winter months such as endive, chicory, beet leaves and winter purslane. One of my favourites is called American Land Cress, a relative of watercress but faster and easier to grow and with a milder, peppery flavour.

Do we deliver to you?

We deliver to Bristol, Bath, Chew Valley, Weston-Super-Mare, Frome and plenty of places in-between!