Wednesday, November 3, 2010
CostCo in Arlington is now selling Tanimura & Antle Artisan Lettuce. The lettuce is grown on Tanimura & Antle farms in Salinas, California (mid-April through mid-October) and in Yuma, Arizona (mid-October through mid-April). It arrives in Arlington in clamshell packages that each hold six small lettuce heads. The six heads are a mix of three different lettuce varieties, each with a somewhat different taste. The six-head package costs $3.99.
Tanimura & Antle Artisan Lettuce keeps well. After a week in the refrigerator it's still in great shape. Packages of loose "spring mix" leaves rot much more quickly. Having vegetables that keep well is particularly important for single persons, who, among a wide range of hardships and injustices, often find that their vegetables rot before they consume them.
Tanimura & Antle is a company with an impressive history. The Tanimura family left Japan in the late 1800s and settled in California. They got into the business of growing lettuce and strawberries. The Tanimuras persevered through the Great Depression with a business focus on iceberg lettuce. During World War II, the two young men in the Tanimura family served in the U.S. Army, while the rest of the Tanimura family spent three years in an internment camp in Arizona as part of a U.S. policy that interned all Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast. After World War II, the Tanimuras resumed growing iceberg lettuce. By 1950, the Tanimura's were selling all their lettuce to Bud Antle's lettuce packing business.
The Antle family left Oklahoma in search of farm work in the late 1800s. By 1930 they were working as iceberg lettuce trimmers and packers in California. They worked themselves into managerial positions and then started their own iceberg lettuce business in 1942. Demand for iceberg lettuce boomed during World War II as result of supplying overseas U.S. soldiers. By 1971, the Antle family, led by Bud Antle, has become the largest U.S. marketer of premium iceberg lettuce.
In 1982, the Tanimura and Antle families, which had been doing business with each other for more than four decades, formed the corporation Tanimura & Antle. That's the business that produced the Tanimura & Antle Artisan Lettuce now for sale at CostCo in Arlington. A big thank you to the Tanimura and Antle families!