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Simply going under the Swahili name mboga ya saladi, Tanzania lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is a leafy vegetable with soft, rich-colored curly leaves.  It looks like a half-cast of cabbage and spinach. There is also a wild cousin of the plant that has leaves that resemble those of growing tobacco.  Some types like asparagus lettuce produce stem that are edible, raw or fried. The leaves garnish salads (from which it gets its Swahili name), soups and packed sandwiches. The crop grows mainly under irrigation in the horticultural regions of Morogolo, Tanga, and Iringa within mainland Tanzania.

The origins of lettuce go back to Egypt in ancient times. Here, the locals grew a wild form of the plant to produce seeds for oil extraction. By the mid-1st century A.D., most of Europe had acquired the crop courtesy of the Romans as well as the Greeks. The West dominated production in the 20th century, but now all parts of the globe, including East Africa grow various cultivars.

One of the most common varieties is Butterhead/ Romaine. The others are leaf lettuce, Crisphead, and Bibb or greenhouse type.

Eating lettuce is a leeway into health especially since the plant has 148 percent of the daily needs of vitamin A. It is also a source of vitamin C at 15 percent of the daily requirements. The level of iron stands at 4 percent for oxygen transportation in blood. The magnesium margin of the daily value which aids in bone formation is 3 percent. This is equal to the margin of calcium for strong teeth enamel.  The dietary fiber proportion in the vegetable is 5 percent of the daily needs.

We source Tanzania lettuce from family growers in Lushoto in Tanga, Morogoro, and Iringa. Here, it is possible to find farmers with patches of land where they cultivate anything from cauliflower to tomatoes and cabbages. They do their farming under irrigation systems with little or no use of chemical sprays. They also fully utilize manure to grow the crop instead of commercial fertilizers.

We harvest lettuce when it is still soft and tender and about 4 inches long. This is why we go for the young plant from which we pluck the outer leaves. This leaves the immature tender middle formation to continue growing. For the Romaine varieties, we either extract the external leaves or slash the whole plant at the base as by then each part, including the hidden leaves will be ready to use.  For other cultivars, we use scissors to cut a few inches from where the leaf formation or crown begins. This perpetuates growth in the next generation of the de-foliaged plant.

We pack Tanzania lettuce in 1 1/9th size produce boxes. These contain a capacity of a dozen pieces at a go. We also have larger packages with counts of two dozen heads of the vegetables per box. For the Crisphead variety, we put 24 per carton. For the leaf lettuce variety, we count by weight measure of about 14.5 and 17 kilograms per carton. For the Butterhead, we keep 14.5-kilo maximum weight packages. For the greenhouse or Bibb types, we use little packages that weigh 4.5 kilograms. We stick produce labels such as the name/cultivar, the number of pieces, the net weight and the country of origin.

We store lettuce in a cool, dry environment at 0 degrees Celsius. We maintain this temperature dispensation up to the delivery period at the airport via our modified environment trucks. You can expect the dispatch to make it to your destination in as little as a day or two after shipment.

In short, if you would like to get a timely supply of Tanzania lettuce, you need to get in touch with us. We source all our produce from family growers with less than two acres of land, which ensures that you will always get a supply that is equal to your needs. We also have sufficient quality that meets your exact requirements. You also get a guarantee of very conducive prices that meet your needs. Make an order today!

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