Keeping Greens Fresh to Sell at Market

Courtesy of Brenda S., Thompson Street Farm, Glastonbury CT
I grow mostly baby greens. For me humidity and high temperatures are a huge factor.

I cut my greens either the day before or the morning before the market. When I cut my greens I try really hard to keep them out of the sun. I do this by covering my container with a basic rain umbrella. Then I dump them into a sink, which is in the shade, filled with icy cold water and let them soak for approx. 10 – 15 minutes.

After they’ve soaked, I pull them out and put them in a large salad spinner and spin them for about 1 minute. Then I spread them out on a table covered with clean towels. Humidity dictates how dry the spinner gets them. Sometimes its so humid and hot that I have to set up a box fan and have it gently blow over the greens to get them really dry. The drier your greens, the longer they will hold up.

After I weigh and bag them in bio-degradable #10 cello bags, from Pac Sel, I put them in the commercial cooler until I’m ready to load up for the market. I use this type of bag because it breathes, whereas plastic bags trap heat and wilts the lettuce. I transport the greens in a large ice cooler.

In CT, our form of government is towns. So every town (vs. county/state) has their own set of rules regulating farmers markets and how produce is sold. In the last year many town health departments are requiring farmers to keep leafy greens cold. So I now have to use a huge cooler with a small amount of ice in the bottom covered with a towel. I don’t want the lettuce directly sitting on the ice because it will burn/freeze the leaves so I use a towel as a buffer – the bags sit on top of the towel. During the market I place the cooler facing out with the lid open so people can look inside and pull out what they want.