I know many of you are food growers and many more of you are more than competent cooks but there are some people who still feel very constrained about a green salad. I meet at least a couple of them every market day. One lady stood in front of two of my huge full baskets of mixed lettuce leaf and asked me if I had any lettuce. I knew she had meant to say she was looking for an iceberg lettuce so I directed her to the shop across the street because you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink.
There are others though whom I meet at the market who are embracing some new foods like rat tail radishes and garlic scape and using flower heads like chives, calendula and borage.
Sadly even my own mother said to me just last month "I can't have a salad without tomato"
Well yes you can, especially if they are not in season.
One of my favourite ways with a salad at this time of year is mixed leaf of young spinach, beet leaves and the last of the Asian green leaf with very lightly steamed potato dumped hot onto the leaves with a dollop of natural yoghurt and a spoon of mustard and left to cool and ever so slightly wilt the leaves.
Or like the salad above foraged from the garden; a couple of baby beets, some baby blue sapphire potatoes, a carrot, a few asparagus spears, all lightly steamed and then added to leaves with chopped garlic scape, raw young peas and wilted beet leaves.
It's still a salad.
How about a bowl of loose lettuce leaf (butter, curly, lollo and red coral) with Asian green flower heads, delicious chive petals, wilted beet stems, chopped rat tail radishes and two sliced eggs ready for a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.
This is a salad too.
No iceberg, no tomatoes and no cucumbers ready yet either.
There is so much more excitement to be had from your food. It is important for your body to get many nutrients and it is also important to have bitters and raw greens in our diet that stimulate digestive action from the moment your tongue tastes it.
There is no need for heavy seasoning when you are sprinkling chopped garlic scape or chive flowers and there is a whole other world out there when you start adding some fresh herbs too. When the scape is gone and the chive heads are finished, it will be the season of basil.
So when you come across a growers stall, open your mind and adjust your thinking from the classic supermarket shop and embrace the seasons as they ebb and flow offering new and exciting taste combinations. Be guided by your growers and what's in the garden now.