Thomas J. Story
In the Mediterranean region, mesclun is best known as a mix of tasty young lettuces and piquant greens (arugula, chervil, and endive in France; chicory, curly endive, and escarole in Italy).
The crops now widely sold at farmers' markets and grocery stores as "baby greens" (the term often used for mesclun) can contain any greens you want ― from colorful sweet lettuces to a melange of mild or spicy leaves and edible flowers.
"Mesclun is about freshness," explains Renee Shepherd of Renee's Garden, which sells seeds for 10 different mixes. That's why the leaves are tastiest when harvested from your own garden.
Mesclun is easy to grow
Start a peppery mix in one bed and a mild lettuce mix in another, and you can blend your salads for every meal. By sowing seed every few weeks during fall and spring in mild-winter climates, or spring into summer in cold-winter climates, you can harvest a bountiful crop over a long season.
Mixes for every taste
Seed catalogs and independent nurseries offer a diverse selection of mesclun combinations, including imports from France and Italy and custom mixes.
Mild lettuces are perfect for everyday salads; to spice them up, add pungent greens such as arugula (also called roquette), chicory, cress, and spicy mustards. Chervil, endive, escarole, kale, mâche (also called corn salad), and mild mustards, such as mizuna, add flavor but not spice.
If you prefer to take the guesswork out of blending your own greens, choose a custom mix; view three of our favorites, grown and tasted at Sunset.