4 Reasons Why Arcadian Harvest® Rocks
Even though we’re waking up to overcast skies here in the Salinas Valley (thanks, June Gloom), our thoughts still turn to outdoor grilling, pool parties and – you guessed it – salad. Our cool, foggy summers are of course one of the reasons why lettuce grows so well here, and in this week’s post I wanted to highlight one of Mann’s superstar lettuce blends: Arcadian Harvest®.
A combination of European lettuce varieties, Mann’s created Arcadian Harvest 5 years ago in an effort to provide a better alternative to traditional spring mix. A few line extensions and an organic version later, it’s fair to say that our customers have wholeheartedly embraced our efforts. Not to toot our own horn too loudly, but here’s why Arcadian Harvest is so great:
1. Adults only. Arcadian Harvest lettuces are mature, petite leaves that are harvested at optimal maturity, at about 60 days. Spring mix, on the other hand, consists of regular lettuce varieties that are harvested while they are still growing – after about 30 days. Mature plants equals deeper roots and a more complete cell structure. Equals a more robust product. Equals a better shelf life.
2. Lofty goals. Many of the baby leaves used in spring mix are flat. In contrast, those used in the Arcadian blend are multi-leaf varieties with multiple growing points, resulting in superior loft on the plate. In fact, a one-ounce serving of Arcadian Harvest equals one and a half ounces of traditional spring mix in terms of plate coverage. Plus it doesn’t get droopy, sad and wilty-looking the way spring mix can.
3. No smelly slime. Because spring mix lettuces are still wee tots, they – like my 8-year-old – are highly active. Meaning they respire more than a mature leaf does. This, combined with their more vulnerable cell structure leads to those infamous, smelly pockets of slime that come with spring mix territory. Or Ghostbusters territory.
The flatter leaves don’t help matters, as they lie directly on top of each other. This creates an environment where the leaves begin to compost themselves. Hence that fermented odor.
The 3-dimensional, mature nature of the Arcadian Harvest leaves not only gives them better structure on the plate, but allows them to breathe easier. No slime. No smell. No Saturday Night Surprise.
4. Best dressed. It is a well-known fact that unless you serve a spring mix salad the moment you dress it, it will become limp and lifeless almost immediately. And a heavier dressing like ranch? Forggetaboutit.
We once again harken back to the flat, young nature of the leaves. Arcadian Harvest leaves have more surface area than a flat leaf, allowing them to capture and hold dressing more effectively. Similar to the way various pasta shapes are better for different sauces. And because it is mature and more robust, it won’t sag under the weight of dressings, warm proteins or any other substantial topping you add.
Mann’s Mexican Summer Salad with Lime Dressing
- 5 ounces Mann’s Aracdian Harvest®
- 1 1/2 cups matchstick-size strips peeled jicama
- 1/4 cup avocado oil (may substitute extra virgin olive oil)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, sliced
- 2 ounces soft fresh cotija cheese, crumbled
- 1 orange, peeled, skinned sliced
- ½ cup Pepitas, roasted
Toss first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add avocado, orange and cotija cheese; toss gently. Divide salad among plates. Sprinkle pepitas evenly over plates.
Note: Great with tequila lime grilled chicken skewers and an icy margarita.
Makes 4 servings