Harvest of the Month: Salad Greens

— Courtesy Island Grown Schools

Green is the color of late April, as the grass begins to grow and sprouts timidly poke through in the garden. Salad greens are one of the first things you can harvest from the wild or your garden, and are a celebration of the beginning of the growing season. Make sure to check local farm stands and markets for local salad greens, as some have already made their debut.

Packed full of vitamins, there are many ways to enjoy salad greens. Try a mix with varieties such as kale, arugula, mizuna, tatsoi, romaine, butterhead, or Swiss chard. Add any type of greens into a sandwich or wrap for some extra flavor or crunch. Discover which varieties your family likes the best.

If you are interested in foraging for greens to put into your salad bowl, find a copy of “Peterson’s Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants” and ask a knowledgeable friend to help you. Right now, delicious edibles such as dandelions, watercress, and chickweed are growing like weeds everywhere.

Be adventurous with your salad making, and include toppings such as shredded purple cabbage, carrots, peppers, beets, sunflower seeds, or dried cranberries. Top it all off with a homemade salad dressing, which is easy and fun to make!

Herbed Yogurt Dressing
by Robin Forte

½ cup watercress
½ cup parsley
¾ cup plain yogurt
⅓ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. dill, chopped
2 Tbsp. basil, chopped
1 Tbsp. mint, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1 tsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Blanch watercress and parsley in a small pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain, rinse in cold water, and squeeze out excess moisture. Cool. Transfer cooled watercress, parsley mixture and all other ingredients to a blender, and purée until smooth. Taste for salt and pepper.

Emily Armstrong is the preschool coordinator for Island Grown Schools, the Vineyard’s farm-to-school nonprofit. For more information, visit islandgrownschools.org.