[Market-farming] salad spinners

road's end farm organic101 at linkny.com
Sun Jul 9 18:04:33 EDT 2006

On Jun 30, 2006, at 8:11 AM, Lynn Wigglesworth wrote:

> I do 5-6 pounds of leaf lettuce for the farmers' market and found a 
> cheap
> method that works for me. I soak it well in cold water, and keep 
> changing
> the water as long as dirt is still coming off the lettuce. I put it in
> wire baskets and put it in the fridge for 2-3 hours, shaking it once 
> in a
> while. After 2-3 hours, it's dry enough to bag (I do half-pound bags). 
> It
> holds up well in the bag for about a week that way. I guess eventually
> I'll have to graduate to a spinner, but this works for now.

And here I didn't know any better than just to pack it wet. All I do is 
rinse it off; let it drain a few minutes (in the type of plastic 
picking tray that has drain holes in it); pack it loosely in waxed 
vegetable boxes (which also let the excess drain some, though a little 
water may collect in the bottom); stick it in the cooler. If I have 
time, I make a few bags up in advance for faster setup at market, as 
most of mine sells as mixed bags; most of it I bag at market a few bags 
at a time, as I never know which varieties will sell significantly as 
individual heads, or whether some customers may want a particular mix 
(all romaines, or whatever). Mine keeps well in a bag for about a week 
too (in cooler or refrigerator, of course). Water doesn't seem to pool 
significantly in the bags, as it's dripped off enough to prevent that.

The bags are left open at the top, unless the customer closes them 
after purchase; so the lettuce can breathe some. And these are whole 
heads of various sizes, occasionally split carefully in half if 
otherwise too big to get three in a gallon bag; not cut as individual 
leaves. And I don't sell it for a week; but it keeps that long in my 
refrigerator or cooler, and my customers tell me it keeps about a week 
for them from purchase, which is usually the day after harvest; though 
leftovers may be sold a couple of days later in some cases. All these 
things may make a difference.

-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale
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