November is the month of gratitude and if there is one thing we have to be grateful for here in Arizona it is the abundance of locally grown leafy greens produced during the fall and winter months. While you might not think ‘leafy greens’ when you think ‘desert climate’, the winter weather in Arizona is actually perfect for growing these healthy veggies.
Our climate is so leafy green friendly in fact that Yuma, Arizona is the winter lettuce capital of the world and more than 1,000 truckloads of lettuce leave the Yuma Valley every day this time of year. The leafy greens produced in Arizona from November to March will account for about 85% of all the leafy greens consumed in both the U.S. and Canada during that timeframe.
In addition to contributing to the food supply, these leafy greens also play an important role in Arizona agriculture by contributing $1 billion a year to the economy and employing more than 20,000 people. To help you celebrate these locally grown veggies and get more of them in your daily diet, here is some basic information about the top Arizona grown leafy greens according to Arizona Leafy Greens and some ways you can use them to fill your family’s plate.
Popular in Mediterranean cuisine, arugula has a distinct peppery flavor and an excellent nutritional profile. It provides vitamins A, C, and K, folates, and beneficial phytochemicals.
Most people are familiar with cabbage, which is a good source of fiber.
- Albondigas Meatball Soup
- Apple Bacon Slaw
- Balsamic Green Beans with Pine Nuts
- Classic Minestrone Soup
- Cole Slaw
- Mexican Cole Slaw
This leafy green stands out from the others because of its brightly colored stalks and veins which come in a rainbow of colors. With a taste similar to beets, chard is a good source of fiber and provides both vitamins A and C.
This leafy green powerhouse is packed with nutrition and provides vitamins A, C, and K, folate, potassium, and even calcium. It has a more bitter taste than most lettuce varieties and comes in a range of colors.
- Bacon, White Bean, and Kale Skillet
- Parmesan Kale Chips
- Turkey Sausage with Spicy Beans
- Cashew Pesto Kale Chips
Lettuce including Butter, Iceberg, Green Leaf, Red Leaf, Baby Leaf, and Romaine
Lettuce provides a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, and potassium, the darker the leaves, the higher the concentration of nutrients. It is also a good source of dietary fiber.
- Asian Lettuce Wraps
- Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Chopped Medjool Date Salad
- Crunchy Apple Salad
- Goat Cheese Lettuce Wraps
- Green Salad
- Grilled Romaine with Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Join the Party Salad
- TABLE Cosmos
Spinach provides folate, vitamins A and C, and is actually better for you when it is cooked, unlike most of the other leafy greens.
- Fennel Spinach Pasta
- Lemon Spinach
- Greek Chicken
- Chicken Picatta
- Eggs Sardou
- Pasta with Goat Cheese
- The Farmer’s Favorite Salad