Artisan Lettuce (Really!)
Artisan food is a type of food that is not mass produced, but handmade, and includes cheese and breadmaking, charcuterie and other foods involving a fermentation process. Artisan food is usually developed during a long period of time.
In the past decade, food producers large and small began to add seeds and nuts and dried fruit to their products, then slapped the Artisan label on it, and concomitantly raised the price in the expectation that the unwary consumer would be thrilled at the thought of purchasing something of greater value, if not a bit of snob appeal.
The whole underpinnings of the “artisan” food movement were shattered when Domino’s introduced their non-artisan “artisan” mass-produced pizza. Food writer and chef Kenji Lopez-Alt described it thus: Domino’s freely admits that they’re not artisans. It says so right there on the box.
Imagine my ever-cynical surprise when my wife brought home a bag of “artisan lettuce” recently. It tasted just like every other head of romaine, that is, it tasted good. But it was disappointingly lacking in the basics of anything artisan: nuts and seeds. How Bud Antle, the Watsonvile, CA, grower determined that this lettuce deserved being branded as “artisan,” we’ll never know. Antle is a large grower of lettuce in California’s Salinas Valley.