Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Spicy Winter Greens Fresh From The Hoophouse

You can't get any more local than this—winter salad greens grown in our backyard.

  • red and green salad

    Image 1 of 7

    Photo: Sarah Kaiser

    Despite the snow and ice, the plants are looking great!

  • hoophouse

    Image 2 of 7

    Photo: Sarah Kaiser

    A hoophouse is essentially a low-cost greenhouse with a frame made of PVC piping.

  • hoophouse

    Image 3 of 7

    Photo: Sarah Kaiser

    The hoophouse is a great way to extend the growing season this winter

  • salad bowl

    Image 4 of 7

    Photo: Sarah Kaiser

    There's a great combination of flavors and colors in the spicy salad mix, with deep purple mustardy leaves, spinach and arugula.

  • fresh greens

    Image 5 of 7

    Photo: Sarah Kaiser

    In exchange for help with weeding and construction, I was invited to pick some of the delicious fresh salad greens.

  • closeup salad

    Image 6 of 7

    Photo: Sarah Kaiser

    This salad is great with a creamy tahini dressing.

  • sarah enjoying fresh greens

    Image 7 of 7

    Photo: Sarah Kaiser

    There were some things I couldn't identify, so I might have enjoyed a few weeds alongside the real salad parts.

This morning, I put on my winter boots, walked out the back door into single-digit weather, and trudged through the snow to our neighbor’s hoophouse—essentially a low-cost greenhouse with a frame made of PVC piping. I ducked under the plastic covering outside, and entered a small, warm oasis of growth.

We have a good relationship with our neighbors (who are part of the Bloomington Housing Co-op ), and in the late fall my landlord helped them build their hoophouse and plant the first crop.

So far, despite the snow and ice, the plants are looking great! And in exchange for help with weeding and construction, I was invited to pick some of the delicious fresh salad greens.

A Colorful Combo

There’s a great combination of flavors and colors in the spicy salad mix, with deep purple mustardy leaves, spinach, arugula, and lots of other things I couldn’t identify—but happily munched on regardless. I might have enjoyed a few weeds alongside the real salad parts.

I don’t think you can get any more local than fresh salad greens from your backyard! The hoophouse was a great way to extend the growing season this winter, and I plan on making lots of salads as long as our plants survive. (And as long as my fingers don’t freeze off while picking them!)

salad bowl

Photo: Sarah Kaiser

There's a great combination of flavors and colors in the spicy salad mix, with deep purple mustardy leaves, spinach and arugula.

Creamy Tahini Dressing With Spicy Salad Greens

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Cooking Directions

  1. Mince garlic. Combine all ingredients, beating with a whisk (or fork) until blended.
  2. Toss dressing into salad with two large spoons until leaves are lightly covered. Serve immediately.

The creamy flavor took some of the bite away from the spicier mustard greens, but the leaves were so delicious I could have eaten them plain.

I’ve been inspired by what my neighbors did with their hoophouse garden, and I’m planning on starting my own garden when spring comes around. Until then, I’ll be making hoophouse salads as long as I can, and visiting the Winter Farmers Market for the rest of our fresh local veggies.

Sarah Kaiser

Sarah Kaiser is a student-turned-townie living in Bloomington, Indiana. A social media specialist at Solution Tree, she spends her days tweeting and her nights foraging at the local summer market for new tastes and flavors. And occasionally rocking out on the ukulele.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Earth Eats:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Earth Eats

Search Earth Eats

Earth Eats on Twitter

Earth Eats on Flickr

Harvest Public Media