Friday, May 4, 2012

ASAP - Get Local with Lettuce this May


Western North Carolina’s farmers and chefs are out to prove that lettuce can be a lofty vegetable. Farmers grow dozens of colorful, flavorful types and varieties — from Bibb to Romaine and Black Seeded Simpson to Lolla Rosa. Chefs embrace these offerings, even lesser-known heirlooms, and elevate them in all types of dishes. Farmers and chefs are joining with ASAP’s May Get Local initiative to encourage showing lettuces love.

The flavor of lettuce is at its peak while some cool weather remains, making May a perfect time for the veggie to stand in the spotlight. Peter Pollay, executive chef and co-owner of Posana Cafe in downtown Asheville, highlights several varieties’ bold flavors in salads on his menu — often featuring them with other local ingredients, like cheeses and strawberries. But, he’s not afraid to grill or sauté the salad standard as well.

That means there’s no telling how Pollay will feature local lettuces on his Appalachian Grown dinner menu Thursday, May 10. The special local menu is in celebration of the restaurant’s anniversary and ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School Program, a program he is passionate about. Diners can order local specials from 5 until 9 pm; 100 percent of proceeds from the evening’s menu will benefit ASAP’s Growing Minds.

Of course, local lettuces also abound at area tailgate markets and groceries now — as full heads and bagged salad mixes. To find a list of area farmers growing lettuce, as well groceries and tailgates stocking their products, search ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at buyappalachian.org.  There, also find more restaurants getting local and serving lettuces this month and beyond.

ABOUT ASAP (APPALACHIAN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROJECT)
ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. To learn more about ASAP’s work, visit asapconnections.org, or call (828) 236-1282.

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