Blue poinsettias: A sin against nature
Books for the holidays

Supermarket surprises


DandelionsSupermarketMore unexpected things are happening in the produce aisle at the local Pennsylvania supermarkets – and not just the abominable blue and lilac poinsettias.

First of all, I spotted a much derided, invasive alien species on sale next to the kale – dandelions. Nice, fresh, bundles at $2.99/£1.90 a pound. They vanished and never returned.

And that’s another thing. Local supermarkets have started selling lettuce by weight. $1.99/£1.27 a pound I paid yesterday which is great: small heads no longer cost the same as large ones. Except that you end up paying for all the water they spray on the produce – complete with atmospheric thunderstorm sound effects – presumably attempting to keep it fresh. Of course, when you get it home and put it in the fridge it rots more quickly because it’s so wet – so you have dry it.

This is also the supermarket – Weis Markets, let’s not be coy – that uses large orange “Organic” labels to cover the blemishes on its apples and which failed to mention its Tuesday discount for seniors for a whole year of weekly Tuesday visits. If you spend enough, they also offer a discount when you go to get gas – but you have to drive more than thirty miles to find a gas station that participates. “Our gas rewards program offers up to twice the savings of other grocery stores,” they say. Maybe – but you have to drive ten times as far to get them.

But - on the plus side - recently they’ve had a really superb little lettuce that I’d not seen before. Small and fat, with soft slender stems, it’s pale green with a bold crimson zone covering about a third to a half of each leaf – it looks like a cross between a ‘Little Gem’ baby Romaine and a Boston/Butterhead type, it’s like a red-tipped, soft, ‘Little Gem’. It really is excellent so I'm trying to find out exactly whch variety it is.



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jean Stowe


Let us know if you discover the name of the lettuce. I buy Little Gem for my tortoise (he won't touch Iceberg but he does like leaves from a salad pack if they are purple). So a purple-tipped Little Gem would be perfect to grow for him.

He also eats dandelion leaves if he is in the mood provided they are young and fresh.



The dandelions pictured are a variety of Chicorium intybus or the Italian Dandelion. They are still a bitter juice composite and taste very similar to the weedy lawn invader.

Graham Rice

Well, Jean, you have one hell of a fussy tortoise!

I had an email from a reader suggesting that the lettuce was 'Merveille de Quatre Saisons' but that is larger and more crisp; this was noticeably short and fat, and soft too.

Graham Rice

Well, Mark, so it's chicory and not dandelion at all! I should have bought some and tried it. Shouldn't just take their word for it.

The comments to this entry are closed.