The markets are greening up!

by Roxanne Garcia
Does this mean that the Farmers’ Markets are going green? Well, we have always been on the green side anyway, and we are working on many practices that would be considered the greening effort of sustainable living, but mostly we want you to buy your greens from our farmers! Tucson Spring is here and along with its arrival are all the beautiful greens; arugula, collard, spinach, asian greens, endive, kale, leaf lettuce, swiss chard and mixed lettuces. The season-availability of the produce grown here in Southern Arizona is different than that of the rest of the United States. I want to assist in helping you remember what is in season so that you may choose the freshest and most natural produce at the right time of year. Now is the time to get your greens and forego the prepackaged salads you find in the grocery cases, you can find the best and freshest salad mixes now, they taste better, they are higher in nutrient value, have less packaging and store longer in your refrigerator, how is that for being green?

Something old, try something new: perhaps you have been accustomed to iceberg or romaine lettuces, at the market you can sample from zesty kale, crisp sprouts or spicy arugula where the flavors are bold and fresh. If you prefer to grow your own- lettuce seedlings and mixed salad bowls are available for purchase at the markets, ask the experts at the market, they will be happy to assist you in your selection and growing methods.

Tips from the market
Since most of the greens are picked in the early morning hours and come directly from the garden – dirt on the leaves is common. The best cleaning method is to lightly wash the leaves in a cold water bath and place them in a salad spinner or in a clean dish or paper towel. Make sure to remove any yellow or wilted leaves. Generally clean lettuce will keep well in a plastic bag or in a moist paper towel for up to 5 days.

By shopping at the Farmers’ Markets, you are committed to a healthy lifestyle, utilizing those tote bags, content with less packaging and helping sustain our agricultural heritage…I believe that the Tucson Farmers’ Markets are on the green side and getting greener every day.