2022 is the Year of the Salad Greens By Diane Blazek

Salad greens are becoming increasingly popular with consumers. Find out why you should add salad greens to your operation.

According to a 2021 survey commissioned by Fresh Express and conducted by OnePoll, 73% of consumers are dedicating themselves to a healthier diet after gaining what has been dubbed “The Quarantine 15,” meaning the 15 pounds they gained during the pandemic. Among those surveyed, a full 34% say they try to make salad a part of their daily intake in hopes of reaching the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. 

Is there any easier way to sell more plants? Transplants or larger “bowls” of greens can be a great impulse buy for customers who may like the idea of growing their own healthy salad. Create a special display and tout the healthy eating advantages of this varied crop class. Educating your customers on succession planting and selling seed packets will keep them coming back for more. 

With so many types of salad greens to choose from, you can cater to every personality and taste: 

  • Asteraceae family: Lettuce, chicory, dandelion greens.
  • Amaranthaceae family: Spinach.
  • Brassicaceae family: Arugula, kale, mustard greens.
  • Other: Asian greens, chard, herbs, beet and turnip tops. 

Varieties of Note 

Pak choi ‘Asian Delight’,
Pak choi ‘Asian Delight’, Johnny’s Seeds

Pak choi ‘Asian Delight’, a 2018 AAS Winner, outperformed all comparisons by leaps and bounds because it does not bolt like other varieties. It forms small 5- to 7-inch heads that have a tasty, tender white rib and dark green leaves. (Seed Solutions of America) 

Lettuce ‘Bauer’ with ‘Redheads’ Johnny's Seeds
Lettuce ‘Bauer’ with ‘Redheads’

Lettuce ‘Bauer’ is a recent AAS Winner praised for its dark green color and compact size that can be grown for baby leaf or full-sized heads. (Vitalis Organic Seeds) 

Cheap Frills Mix is a diverse, frilly mix that is a great introduction to different leaf types, and a visual stunner with beautiful red and green color variation. (Johnny’s) 

Escarol ‘Eliance’ is a heat-tolerant, smooth-leaved, self-bleaching escarole (endive). Eliance is an easy-to-grow introduction to chicories, offering high yield and tender leaves. (Enza Zaden/Vitalis) 

Ezpark, part of the Eazyleaf series, is a vibrant green incised tango. An excellent choice for all seasons, Ezpark grows well and features impressive yield and uniformity. (Enza Zaden/Vitalis) 

‘Jara’ is a dark green romaine that produces beautiful compact heads and is slow to bolt in the heat. (Enza Zaden/Vitalis) 

‘Marciano’ is a compact red butterhead with nice, buttery leaves that showcase a deep burgundy exterior surrounding a well-filled interior of fresh bright green leaves. (Enza Zaden/ Vitalis) 

Spinach ‘Oceanside’ is a versatile dark green spinach featuring nice, thick leaves with round/oval shape, and versatile enough for baby leaf or full-sized leaves. (Kitazawa Seed) 

Kale ‘Redbor’ is a tall kale with impressive deep purple color. A vigorous grower with deeply serrated leaves and sturdy stems, Redbor is an excellent choice especially for cooler climates, as its color strengthens and flavor sweetens with looming frost. Beyond the salad bowl, Redbor is a great garnish or addition to floral arrangements. (Multiple sources) 

Marketing Salad Greens

NGB does extensive work on creating marketing content, which helps save growers and retailers time and money, especially during the busy spring season! NGB offers trendy, creative and on-point marketing tools to help the industry promote the 2022 “Year of the” crops. These tools are designed to make your marketing life easier and allow you to reap the rewards from this highly successful national marketing campaign. 

NGB members provide numerous photos of varieties that are posted on the NGB website for use by our industry’s retailers. Fact sheets, flyers, handouts, signage, posters, and social media graphics can also be downloaded for use at no charge by retailers after registering on the NGB website. 

2022 “Year of the” marketing tools available include: 

  • Custom, hand-painted logos 
  • Pre-written social media posts 
  • Hundreds of photos 
  • PowerPoint presentations including photos 
  • “Did You Know?” presentations and graphics 
  • Printable posters 
  • 8- by 10-inch printable signs 
  • Fact sheets in PDF format
  • Retailers can take advantage of the publicity from this program and use the marketing collateral in their 2022 websites, advertisements, social media and in-house seminars. 

Wondering just how popular the “Year of the” program is? Those pages on the NGB website are consistently in the top 10 visited pages by thousands of site visitors every month. 

Diane Blazek

Diane Blazek is executive director of All-American Selections and National Garden Bureau. NGB is a North American nonprofit organization and marketing arm of the gardening industry. It exists to educate, inspire, and motivate the use of plants in homes, gardens, and workplaces. NGB members come from around the world and are experts in the field of horticulture. Find out more at www. ngb.org.