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Lettuce as a commodity can initially come across as very generic. To some, lettuce is…just lettuce. It’s green, it’s healthy, and it’s known as the preferred entrée for rabbits – what else is there to it?




While the three previous statements may be true, lettuce as a commodity has much more depth than initially noted on the surface. Not to get too botanic on you, but the scientific word that sums up the various types of lettuce is Lactuca sativa. Under the Lactuca sativa ‘umbrella,’ we have everything from romaine lettuce to radicchio lettuce. Not familiar with the latter? Perhaps you know it as Italian chicory, a purple looking head of lettuce.

While there are many, many types of lettuce, we are going to focus on the most common types that our audience is likely to incorporate or come across in daily life.


A lot of times, leaf lettuce is looked to being made of pure health, because of the related saying, “eat your leafy greens.” Indeed, the health is there, but leaf lettuce comes in branches from a single stalk. It is tender, purple or green, and vulnerable to going bad quickly due to its thin and fragile physical state. Romaine lettuce is also quite common, with a firm stalk of long leaves with ruffled edges at the top. Iceberg lettuce is commonly a favorite among people because of the crunchy texture. Although it is still part of the lettuce family at the end of the day, due to its lighter color, it is not as flavorful or nutritious as darker leafed lettuce because the water content is much higher in iceberg lettuce -whereas leafy lettuce is much denser and packed with nutrients. Butterhead lettuce is also standard green lettuce you can spot in just about any store. Butterhead has leaves that are shaped in almost a cup-like form – which makes for excellent lettuce wraps!


As we move through the lettuce ranks, we begin to get into the kale, arugula, and spinach types. These are the more dark and bitter lettuces, and also some of the healthiest ones. Some believe kale is not to be classified as “lettuce,” but because of the leaves and the incredible amount of vitamin A and C, iron and calcium, many do consider kale as lettuce or alternative to lettuce. Arugula is on a spectrum of its own – not only are the leaves quite small and short without much ‘meat’ to them, they are naturally bitter lettuce, and typically need acidic dressings to offset the bitterness. You can typically find arugula at higher-end restaurants in salads and sandwiches, as it is preferred to more dense lettuce types when it comes to primarily featuring other flavors in the dish.


Ah, spinach. Can you even go wrong? Not likely. Spinach and kale often rival each other as a base in smoothies and as a preferred texture. There is no doubt both bring essential amounts of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to the table. Frequently, it comes down to preference and texture for most people.

No matter the type of lettuce you prefer, you are bound to experience health benefits such as lower cholesterol levels, boosted immunity, vision health, possible weight loss, boosts in heart health and healthy brain function. You are likely to experience more benefits in certain areas with the darker and denser greens, but at the end of the day – consuming lettuce as a part of your regular diet will only benefit you.


Lettuce is thankfully produced all year in the United States, with California and Arizona as the main hubs of lettuce production. Worldwide, China remains the largest producer of lettuce to date.

Western Veg-Produce, Inc.
PO Box 82217
Bakersfield, CA 93380

Office: 1-800-WVegPro (983-4776)
Fax: 1-661-637-2365
Sales: sales@wvegpro.com
Accounting: accounting@wvegpro.com