The best things come in small packages. At least, that’s what short people say. The leaders in our produce area also say this—though they are varied in height—especially when they are speaking of our Smallish Gems Sweet Lettuce. One of our buyers first encountered Gems in London restaurants and supermarkets several years ago. Today, we’ve seen these small, Sweet Lettuce heads popping up all over the U.S., especially in farmer’s markets and finer restaurants.
Based on their notable characteristics, Gems might be described as a cross between butter lettuce and romaine. Technically, they are an heirloom romaine that hails from France. Our Gems are grown in the Salinas Valley, California. (In winter, they’re grown in Yuma, Arizona.) It was the end of the 1990s when our grower brought some “French Romaine” home where it took over five years of experimentation to determine the right climate and seed to produce the highest quality and yield of this little lettuce.
Each smallish head is enough for a main-dish salad, or two side salads. Each single leaf is the perfect size for a vegan “taco shell.” The red or green, savoyed leaves hold drizzles and dressings expertly and provide a pleasant, crunchy texture for your tongue. The sweet, delicate flavor is bereft of bitterness. Gems are never stringy or tough (unlike “biggish” romaine), and yet they are strong enough to withstand the heat from grilling or pan-frying, allowing for no little amount of creative salad making.
A single bag of three Trader Joe’s Smallish Gems boasts the petite price of just $1.99. That’s a big value, but it’s no big deal. It’s just what we do.
NOTE: Since posting, the details of this item may have changed due to fluctuating market prices, federal regulations, currency rates, drought, pestilence, bandits, rush hour traffic, filibusters, clowns, zombie apocalypse, punctilious product developers... Contact our Crew for current price and availability.
Heirloom French Romaine.