Salad days at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market

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Chef David Almany hand selects farmer's market vegetables for the crudité platters he serves at Restaurant at the Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica. Photo by Joseph Duarte.

The Georgian Hotel is steps away from the Santa Monica Farmer's Market. This week, market correspondent Gillian Ferguson talks salad with chef David Almany of Restaurant at The Georgian. With a background working for Nancy Silverton in both Los Angeles and Singapore, Almany sources lettuces from France and Italy. He likes to buy his greens from Coleman Family Farms and The Garden Of

To compose a salad, Almany starts with lettuce, which he washes in ice water, to crisp it up, then spins until it's completely dry. Crunchy snap peas, toasted walnuts, English peas, radishes, and lemon vinaigrette add texture and seasoning. 

Ky Takikawa is the face of The Garden Of, bringing produce down from his family's farm in Santa Ynez. He says the secret to their pristine lettuces is getting them to market within 36 hours of harvesting and storing them in a temperate climate. The farm's salanova mix is a favorite of chef Almany. Takikawa explains that a salanova is a subsection of the lettuce world. A type of lettuce bred to be "more of a flower" with full leaves, it's ideal for salads. He says his father tries out produce to determine what is best grown each season. His mom's special salad dressing of olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and crushed garlic is his favorite way to enjoy the harvest.