After we lost the family farm back in the early 80s - maybe you remember 21 percent interest rates and a major hail storm wiped out 25 years of my family’s toil on the farm - we started over selling at farmer’s markets, which were not real popular back then.
Our cousin was aware of our dogged determination to somehow stay in agriculture and gave us a delivery vehicle – a maroon and rust-colored, 1976 Datsun hatchback with 167,000 miles (hey, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth) – that we used to deliver lettuce. The old beater wasn’t in too great of shape (major understatement); in fact, I think Dad had to weld the axle back onto its frame four different times, but it got the lettuce there.
We cut the passenger seat out to make more space to haul lettuce orders. At the time, we were selling our lettuce in wooden peck baskets. We became pretty efficient at packing them in that hatchback Datsun; in fact, we could fit 100 baskets if we packed very precisely, to be sure the product arrived in beautiful shape. Good thing the air conditioner worked.
We were growing about 15 varieties back then. We have always loved growing lettuce. A bowl of crisp greens is truly one of my favorites and has always been one of our most popular products. We now grow almost 30 varieties of lettuces and many more types of greens that we harvest only when a chef orders and deliver direct to their kitchen door.