Mixed Lettuce is March's Harvest of the Month 
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Lettuce comes in all shapes and colors, sometimes with green, golden, purple, bluish, reddish and multicolored leaves. Lettuce is in the aster family, along with dandelions and sunflowers: one of the biggest plant families on the planet! Lettuce’s scientific name, lactuca sativa, comes from the way that the stem oozes a white liquid like milk when it breaks.

Ancient Egyptians were cultivating lettuce 6,000 years ago. 23 million metric tons of lettuce are eaten each year by people all over the world!

Lettuce is a good source of:

Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Potassium & Fiber
Calcium
Iron & Copper

Lettuce is full of fiber and this is good for your digestive system. Lettuce also helps you get rid of possibly harmful salts, which improves heart health. It includes Vitamin C, which helps lower and prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. And, surprisingly, lettuce is 20% protein. Could you have guessed?

While lettuce is most often used in salads or on a sandwich, you can also use bigger lettuce leaves as a wrap or boat to hold chicken salad or rice and beans.

SALAD WITH APPLES & SUNFLOWER SEEDS

4 large handfuls of washed, mixed lettuce 1 large apple, diced. 1⁄4 cup hulled sunflower seeds a little oil and vinegar

Mix it all together and enjoy! To add a little protein, you could add a sliced hard-boiled egg or some cheese.

Illustration: Mackenzie Baumgarten, 8th grade at Buford Middle School


Lettuce likes cool weather best, so it grows well in spring and fall. Start seeds inside 4 weeks before the last frost, and transplant in mid to late spring. Lettuce likes loose, cool soil that drains well and will be tastiest if you add some compost before transplanting. Lettuce grows best in full sun, but if it’s the hot part of summer, a little shade will cool them down. For big heads of lettuce, you can space them each one foot apart, then you harvest the whole head at once. Or you can plant them closer and pick leaves as they grow.

Above- Top: students at Johnson Elementary enjoying March's Harvest of the Month snack - Mixed Lettuce! Bottom left: CSG Garden Coordinator Jodi Darring and Volunteer Jasmine Chiu dishing up the snacks at Burnley Moran. Bottom right, Garden Coordinator Rick Harden serves up lettuce at Johnson Elementary.

Mixed Lettuce - Trivia and Facts
 
TRIVIA: “This vegetable is 96% water, and grows in loose leaves or dense heads.It can be green, white, or red, and most of the time we eat it raw without any cooking. 

FACTS:
  • Lettuce produces phytonutrients, a chemical that helps protect the plant from UV sun damage and from insect and disease attacks.  When we eat lettuce, those same phytonutrients work to boost our immune system and protect us from disease.
  • Dark and red leaves are more nutritious than light green or white lettuce varieties and parts.
  • Americans eat about 30 pounds of lettuce per person each year.
Read more about this month's Harvest of the Month snack delivery on our blog!
 
Left: ADD CAPTION. Right: Some mixed lettuce dished up and ready to be served over at Jackson-Via Elementary.

A special big shout out of thanks goes to all the CCS kitchen staff who shared space with us, and all the volunteers and Garden Coordinators who helped deliver the snack to classrooms, and to all the students for enthusiastic snacking abilities!
 
Fresh mixed lettuce was sourced through the Local Food Hub from Hartland Natural Farm. Special Thanks to Armando Lopez and his team at Hartland Farm for growing, harvesting, and washing the lettuce for this month's Harvest of the Month.
Harvest of the Month is a program that highlights a locally available crop each month by providing a fresh, healthy snack in all six Charlottesville Elementary Schools. Students also learn about the crop in their schoolyard garden and classroom. Information on growing, nutrition, and preparation of the crop is shared with teachers and families. The goal of Harvest of the Month is to support healthy living skills that strengthen our youth and community. 

It takes a community to make Harvest of the Month happen! City Schoolyard Garden is grateful to work in collaboration with Charlottesville City SchoolsLocal Food Hub, and Charlottesville Move2Health. Supported with funds through the Thomas Jefferson Health District of the Virginia Department of Health and other generous donors. Thanks to rock paper scissors for their design work and Desmond Cormier, Buford  Middle School Art Teacher for working with his students to produce the artwork. 

    Donate to keep Harvest of the Month growing!

City Schoolyard Garden is an independent, non-profit organization and your tax deductible donation makes a difference. Join us investing in our children's future, and providing them with a foundation for learning about health, nutrition, sustainability, and community. Click on the apple to donate or send a donation to our address below. Thank you!
P.O. Box 5285, Charlottesville, VA 22905
 
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