Niagara Lettuce Co. grows Boston and oak leaf lettuces in Vineland, providing a source of fresh, local greens throughout the year.
My column, Eating Niagara, runs every second Wednesday in the St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review and Welland Tribune.
Eat healthier. Cut food waste. Be kinder to the planet.
They’re a common refrain at this time of year, the height of resolution season.
If they’re your goals for the new year, there’s an easy way to spare yourself resolution remorse for any tumbles off the proverbial wagon: Eat a salad. Just make sure it’s made with leaves grown by Niagara Lettuce Co.
The Vineland greens machine that’s a division of Sunrise Greenhouses grows between 1,300 and 1,500 heads of Boston, green and red oak leaf lettuce each week — even now in the greyest and coldest depths of January. So if eating local is also on your to-do list, you really have no excuses.
Dennis Sengsavang, who grows the heads of tender greens for Niagara Lettuce Co., will confirm how easy it is to make friends with salad.
“I became a big salad guy,” he said. “I’ll be honest, it’s a passion for growing. I love seeing it from the beginning to end.”
Still, this isn’t just any salad that Sengsavang grows.
Sunrise Greenhouses is better known for being early adopters of new and niche houseplant production. For years potted flowers, such as campanula, rather than food have been Sunrise’s bread and butter.
The operation began branching into edibles when it worked with the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre to develop the pixie grape, a popular and petite ornamental wine grapevine that comes in Pinot Meunier, and soon Merlot, Riesling and Cab Franc.
But Sunrise general manager Rodney Bierhuizen knows tastes change when it comes to the plants we place in our living rooms. Salad, by contrast, is a relative constant in our kitchens, and a more sustainable business plan than that stylish succulent sitting on my coffee table.