I just can’t say enough about my new favorite lettuce. Spotted Trout, aka Forellenschluss, aka Freckles, is a beautiful and tasty romaine that has apple green leaves mottled with reddish specks.
This lettuce was planted last October and spent the whole winter covered by one of my cold frames. To say that it is hardy would be an understatement! It survived temperatures near 5°F with only the light protection of my Reemay-covered cold frame. But hardiness is not the only thing going for it. It has a mild taste and tender texture. I’m not real big on supermarket variety romaines, but this one is a real keeper. This head weighed in at 12 ounces, and it wasn’t quite fully grown yet.
The color in this variety is quite variable. Some plants are more speckled than others. The one in the photos above has very little of the ‘freckled’ spots on the leaves. Lettuce breeder Frank Morton has done some selections on this variety to try and stabilize the coloring. I’m going to try his Flashy Trout Back lettuce this fall. I’m also going to let our best looking plant go to seed and start doing our own selection.
But Spotted Trout isn’t the only lettuce that graced our plates this week. We also had some nice Simpson Elite lettuce that my wife used to make a wilted lettuce salad. This is my favorite variety for wilting. Doesn’t everyone plant specific varieties for certain uses? I know I do!
Other harvests this past week include over two pounds of 2011 asparagus. Most of that got grilled. Some of it was eaten raw. All of it was thoroughly enjoyed! This is our third year of harvesting from our asparagus patch, which is planted with Jersey Giant, Jersey Knight, and Jersey Supreme varieties. I am hoping we will surpass our 2010 total of 14 pounds of asparagus, but last year’s drought was surely hard on the plants and will likely cut into our yields for this year.
I also picked over a pound of spinach from the greenhouse. Those were the Gigante Inverno (Giant Winter) and Space varieties. The Giant Winter spinach is aptly named, because some of those leaves were bigger than my outstretched hand! Though big, they are still mild and tender enough to use in a salad. Some of the overwintered spinach is already bolting. The season for spinach is just too short here!
A little bit of chard from the greenhouse rounds out our harvests for the week, which totaled 5.5 pounds. For more gardener’s harvests, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, host of Harvest Mondays.