What we're seeing is amazing. Pounds of beautiful, leafy greens being washed by hand in a large tank of cool, clear water. Seeing the glistening arugula, bibb, boston, chicory, mizuna, oak leaf, radicchio, and lollo rosso, one can imagine these crisp and cold lettuces adorned with nothing but a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper. Or perhaps a balsamic vinaigrette.
Wait, the dressing is not the point here--the lettuces are.
We're at Sky Farm in Columbia County, in upstate New York, just north of Millerton. Chris Regan and his small crew grows eleven acres of gourmet salad mix including over thirty varieties of salad greens, herbs, and edible flowers. At the peak of his season he brings in over eight hundred pounds of delicious product a week. His salads are on the menus of some of the best restaurants in the Hudson Valley. Quality is maintained throughout the growing season with his use of organic methods, cover crops for fertility, weed management and smart rotations. Doing all that means the produce that comes out of his fields is the very best it can be.
Chris was trained as a painter, but the palette he likes to use nowadays is various shades of green with a few daubs of red. He's been growing organic greens for almost fifteen years after being turned on to artisanal salad mixes by some grower friends of his working in the Berkshires.
Chris does a great job explaining how he produces his terrific greens. Watch him here:
This time of year, locally grown salad, picked fresh, dressed minimally and placed on your plate is truly a pleasure. Chris Regan isn't alone in producing artisanal salad greens, so find your local grower. Buy from him or her and drizzle some olive oil, or maybe honey-mustard dressing, or try a roasted garlic vinaigrette, or yogurt dressing, or perhaps . . . . .