Last month, there were plenty of local green crops on the shelves. So why now a dearth? I can think of lots of possible explanations. All of which boil down to a matter of timing on the grower's part. Hopefully, some enterprising farmer will realize that he or she could sell local produce during February and plan accordingly next winter.
|Cabbage plants under artificial lighting|
It would be interesting to compare the carbon footprint for producing local crops with supplemental lighting, versus trucking the same crops long distances. I know, for example, that lettuce can be grown to harvestable size entirely under fluorescent lights. The photo at right shows sturdy lettuce plants now about a month old. And below, Ashley lettuce, grown under lights, has reached leaf lengths of about five inches, big enough for a salad. These plants are going out to the cold frame soon, but if they were potted up and left under the lights they would mature. Lettuce produced indoors has a much more tender texture. The leaves are thinner. We are experimenting with air movement to get a crispier lettuce. By using a small fan to gently circulate air around the leaves, we encourage them to become sturdier, and hence more palatable.
|Lettuce 'Ashley' under fluorescent lighting|