Locally Yours: Keep it simple with a spring salad

By: Carol Arnold
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The farmers’ market was beautiful on Saturday. Teeming with people and full of fresh fruits and vegetables, it was a joy to walk around, talk to friends and neighbors and take in the sights and sounds of the market. The winter season is coming to a close; time to savor our fleeting spring market before the heat of summer begins in earnest.

The market has a completely different feel in the spring. Just when we all think we can’t look at another winter vegetable, spring onions, green garlic and asparagus make their appearance. In addition to the onions and garlic, basil and locally grown lettuce were added to the spring mix.  

Although lettuce might not seem too exciting at first blush, the flavor and crispness of locally grown lettuce elevates this staple green to a “must have” status. Jim’s Produce has beautiful baby romaine for sale, deep green with mahogany streaks. Twin Brooks Farm has two varieties of curly leaf lettuce and Natural Trading Company has beautiful red butterhead. After seeing all of the lettuce at the market, I couldn’t help but crave a giant green salad. With the addition of carrots, snap peas and asparagus from Thao Family Farm; fennel and radishes from Natural Trading Company; garlic chives from Ueki Flowers; tiny green onions from Jim’s Produce; and basil from Twin Brooks Farm, I made a magnificent farmers’ market salad. I dressed it with yummy Snow’s Citrus Mandarin Orange Mustard Dressing and added a sliced baguette from the Baker and Cakemaker and cheese from Dedrick’s cheese. What a treat! 

Deep-green lettuce counts as a leafy green, unlike iceberg-type head lettuce. Compounded by the fact that the lettuce has been picked within a day of the market, a farmers’ market lettuce salad packs a nutritional wallop.  

Today’s recipe is simple, but I think it is helpful to remind ourselves just how satisfying, nutritious and tasty a green salad can be. Completely in season and raised by farmers who are your neighbors, salad doesn’t get much better.

Carol Arnold is general manager of the Foothill Farmers Market Association. Reach her at


Farmers’ Market Spring Salad

Wash and dry vegetables thoroughly. Quantities of ingredients are determined by how large you would like the salad to be and which vegetables you would like to emphasize. I add a lot of basil, asparagus and green onion to my spring salad.

Red butterhead, romaine, red and green curly leaf lettuce, torn into serving pieces, about 2 ounces per person
Radishes, sliced
Asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces, steamed for three minutes and cooled
Carrots, cut into coins or grated
Garlic chives, finely chopped
Green onions, thinly sliced
Fennel, thinly sliced
Snap peas, cut in half
Basil, torn, added just before serving
Baguette, two slices per person
4 ounces Rocchetta cheese 
Snow’s Citrus Mandarin Orange
Mustard Dressing 

Slice baguette into ½-inch slices.  Toast lightly. Spread Rocchetta cheese on the slices. Toss vegetables together in a large bowl. Lightly dress the salad with the Mandarin Orange Mustard Dressing. Serve in bowls with two cheesy croutons on each bowl. Enjoy!