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Know your salads

Nutritionists agree that a varied diet is one of the best routes to good health. Leafy salads are a delicious way to boost your 5 a day intake – and being so adaptable and wide ranging are suitable for main meals, side dishes, perfect for entertaining and great for everyday family meals.

A sophisticated supply chain ensures that salad products reach consumers’ trolleys in tip top condition and are still bursting with nutrients. You can ring the changes whatever the season so salads should be a regular part of everyone’s diet – all year round.

You may not have considered the humble lettuce leaf’s journey to your plate, but you can be assured that it has had the utmost care and attention lavished upon it at every step of the way.

There are five main types of wholehead salad grown in the UK. Varieties include,

  • Iceberg
  • Romaine (otherwise known as Cos)
  • Gem
  • Batavia
  • Speciality lettuce (e.g. lollo rosso, oak leaf)

In addition there are loose leaves such as rocket, spinach and red chard.

Within each variety there are many different ‘cultivars’ which are grown to suit different seasons and conditions. Early in the season, growers need varieties with good vigour, whereas in the summer the requirement is for good heat and bolting tolerance. In the autumn, growers focus more on varieties which are resistant to mildew and aphids, and with good vigour.

If you don’t know your romaine from your red chard, or your cos from your iceberg, let us guide you through the array of different varieties grown here in the UK.