Hoop House Salad Fun!

by Katharine Ostrowski - Urban Nettle referred by by Laura FrerichsTastemaker in Residence

It is fitting that May is National Salad Month because up here in Minnesota…that’s pretty much all that’s growing. We really shouldn’t even have that this late spring. We are just getting our onions in the ground which is about a week late. Eek! But have no fear you lovers of greens the secret to our early salad fixings is our heated hoop houses. Peek inside and a lovely menagerie of exceptional salad ingredients can be found!

There are exquisite lettuces of varying sizes, shapes and colors. Crimson-reds, speckled greens and maroons and of course the most vividly green leaves I guarantee the likes of which you’ve never laid eyes upon in your grocery store. With names like Pomegranate Crunch, Little Gem and Deer Tounge (our farm favorite) what’s not to love?!

And it’s not just the lettuces. Baby kale and chard are constantly inching their way to full scale harvest height. There are some adorable small radishes with red bulbs and the farmers’ market favorite French Breakfast with its white and pink obliged body. Hakueri turnips—a specialty all white salad turnip that is ever so sweet and tender is also plentiful. And last but not least there is also baby bok choi. Something you might not think to put in a salad but once you shred it and add some rice, nuts, fruit and herbs it is absolutely delicious!

So there you are folks. These early spring goodies probably aren’t in your backyard garden but head to the farmers’ market and there is sure to be not just some but all of these precious spring goodies available. What’s even more exciting is that sandwiched amongst the lettuces and roots in our hoop houses, little baby cherry tomato fruit exists! Call us crazy but late June early May…tomatoes may be abound! 

Happy salad making!

Hoop House Salad

Ingredients - Salad
4 heads baby bok choi, shredded
1.5-2 cups forbidden or black rice cooked and salted
3 bulbs of hakueri turnips, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup tasted sunflower seeds
1/3 cup currants or dried cranberries
2-3 scallions, finely chopped
1 bunch of chives, finely chopped

Ingredients -Dressing
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp sunflower seed nut butter
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 clove garlic crushed, mashed with salt and added to dressing
¼ tsp salt


  1. Place your baby bok choi and black rice in a large bowl and mix to combine.
  2. Next add the sliced turnips, seeds, fruits, scallions and chives and set aside.
  3. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar, cap and shake thoroughly. Pour dressing over bowl of salad ingredients and combine till just mixed.
  4. Enjoy!