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Market Watch: A Salad a Day…

I can’t tell you how many people in the last several weeks have commented about the organic salad greens from Blue Moon Farm. How much they have come to love and depend on a generous bag every week, how remarkably fresh and interesting they are, how they stay so fresh in the fridge, and how they are such a great deal compared to the lesser quality greens one finds in the grocery store.

Jon Cherniss from Blue Moon takes his salad seriously.

Composed of roughly fifteen varieties of lettuces and other baby greens, Jon blends a variety of textures, colors and flavors creating a mix that takes center stage on salad plates around Champaign-Urbana.

Red Oak, Green Oak, Freckles, Rouge D Hiver, Cocarde and the French Crisps are just a few of the tender lettuces that make up about 80 percent of the mix. Arugula, Mizuna, Tatsoi, Red Mustard and Red Russian Kale add further complexity and a hint of spiciness. These are salad greens that need no more than a drizzle of olive oil yet can withstand your zestiest ranch.

Blue Moon grows 200 pounds of salad greens a week in the height of the summer. That adds up to a lot of man hours on the farm. Jon estimates that more than 50 hours a week are devoted to growing, washing and packing his greens for market. And although he has been growing salad greens for more than 20 years, Jon is always looking for better varieties that can withstand our crazy Midwestern weather — growing approximately 15 new varieties every year.

Blue Moon Farm’s tastiest salad greens are for sale at Market at the Square every Saturday from 7a.m.-noon, rain or shine now through Nov. 8 in the parking lot of Urbana Square Mall on the corners of Vine and Illinois streets.

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