A Harvest or Salad Greens in Winter

The last couple of days there has been an odd icy chill to the days.  It hasn’t helped that it has poured and no one in Los Angeles is prepared for cold weather.  It’s one of the rites of passage moving to LA, you give away all your winter coats and sweaters.  I gave up most, but couldn’t bear to part with a bright indigo blue military beauty.  (I wear it when others are still in flip flops.)  But today, today!  There was no need for such things.  We awoke to sunshine and the world washed a brighter green. So we went to the Garden.

The hubs and I spent the afternoon in the nursery transplanting baby plants.  It’s hard to resist a man who reminds you to be careful of “the small ones” as he tenderly tucks the tiniest seedlings into soil.  There was silence and warm sunshine and slow paced work in the middle of the city. It was like a mini vacation, for as much as I love this city it can get loud sometimes.  And after a lovely afternoon of getting rich real dirt deep under our finger nails, Master Gardener David King sent us home with this

Left to Right & Top to Bottom: Scottish Blue Kale, DINOSAUR Kale, Cilantro, Iceberg, Red Leaf Lettuce, Flowered Broccoli, Spinach and Carrots tucked in the middle.  I may have a new favorite color.  How gorgeous are they?!

I stood at the table in awe and excitement just trying to figure out what, how, when to eat everything in front of me.  And thinking of people I’ll have to call to help me.  One perfect carrot didn’t even make it out of the garden.  Garden Master David King, rinsed it off with a hose and sliced it up for us on the spot.  It tasted like candy.  It was the freshest thing I have ever eaten, 30 seconds from the ground.  Delicious candy.  What we’d have for dinner was likewise decided before we left the garden.  The hubs fell in love with some Romaine.

One of the reasons I am so excited about spending time in this garden, besides the obvious delicious returns is that I don’t know squat about gardening.  But I want to.  Usually I solve this by reading a lot.  But there is very little literature on Southern California gardening that is worth its salt.  Thank god for the David King! Today I learned from the Master Gardener that lettuces are in season in the winter.  One rarely thinks of a salad as winter food!   That Romaine became a HUGE caesar salad.  And it was unbelievably juicy, we sopped up the dressing with sourdough.  An incredible day.  But my favorite moment was when David King told us of his tradition of the annual BLT holiday, when everything is in season.  He makes the bread, gets the bacon from a farmer, and picks the tomato and lettuce.  He celebrates when ever the seasons overlap, last tomato and first lettuce.  This is a holiday I can not wait to celebrate.

And finally, meet Tree.  He’s the dog around here.  Every time I see him trot through the vegetables I can’t help but think of The Wizard of Oz and Peter Rabbit.  He trots a lot, otherwise I might have been able to catch him for a close up. I am hoping Teddy and he will be friends.


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