During my protracted trip back to Columbus something caught my eye in the British Airways magazine:
Invented in Ohio, ice lettuce is the next fêted leaf. It’s exposed to freezing
temperatures to concentrate its sugar content and amplify its juiciness.
Watch out for chefs such as Raymond Blanc using it in their menus.
The article, an A-Z of what we will be eating in 2009 was by Sudi Pigott, author of the ‘How to be a better foodie’ Book I was given for Christmas, but I had never heard of ice lettuce and when I asked about it on my return, everyone’s initial response was ‘you mean Iceberg’?
I finally found a mention of it, in an interesting article which features among others Ferran Adrià, the renown chef of El Bulli in Spain and Alice Waters of Chez Panisse. Ice lettuce was invented at the Chef’s Garden in Huron Ohio, which Ferran Adrià visited on a research trip to the United States.
The Chef’s Garden specializes in micro greens and micro herbs for restaurants. They also grow edible flowers and a wide range of speciality vegetables. Owners the Jones’s have built a successful business, with a mix of cutting edge ideas and sustainable and heirloom sensibilities and now fly their innovative produce to top chefs around the globe . The article tells the story of the farm and how the Jones’s started growing speciality vegetables and went from a traditional farm to a niche business. The Jones family have also founded a culinary vegetable institute to facilitate collaboration between chefs and farmers.
I was excited to see that the Chef’s garden has red brussels sprouts – something I have never seen.