Gary Church: Red Butter Lettuce adds color, taste to salads | News

Oh, how I remember that moment so well.

I was 23 years old, working for Metropolitan Life, and was at a meeting at Mike Isabella’s Restaurant.

Sitting in front of my plate was a tossed salad, something I had never tried before. Not wanting to look too stupid, I ate it. It wasn’t bad, especially with Mike’s house dressing on it.

At home on Bluff Street, Mom only used Miracle Whip on lettuce. I never knew there was such a thing as bottled salad dressing.


Retired now, Gary Church is a former grower at a local greenhouse.

Fifty years later, I still don’t mind a salad, as long as there isn’t a lot of goofy stuff in it, like carrots, purple cabbage, radish, cucumbers, onions or black olives. Just the green lettuce is fine for me. That saves me the trouble of removing all that other junk and setting it on the clean tablecloth.

Since restaurants like to make their salads look attractive, what can they add to make a finicky customer like me happy?

The answer is simple, Salanova Red Butter Lettuce. Doesn’t that sound delicious? You’ve probably eaten it, but never knew exactly what it was.

Salanova is a newer type lettuce developed by the Ridk Zwaan Company. I’d tell you how to pronounce it, but I don’t have a clue. R.Z. is good enough for me.

It’s like a baby leaf lettuce, but has three times more leaves and will give you about 40 percent more yield, if you really want more yield. What’s cool about it is, on the incise varieties, you can cut the base of it and all the leaves fall apart with just one cut, ready for the salad bowl. If you are like my wife, you may want to wash them first. I’m like the rabbits, they don’t wash their lettuce and don’t seem to have a…

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