Forellenschluss (Speckled Trout Lettuce)
Beautiful, buttery, and speckled romaine lettuce from Austria. In Germany, it was named forellenschluss, meaning: "trout's back". Trouts are fish covered in beautiful spots, reminiscent of the striking red freckles on this otherwise green lettuce. According to the Slow Food Ark of Taste, forellenschluss came to North America in the 1790s, first arriving in Waterloo County, Ontario.
First cultivated as early as 2680 BC, lettuce was first used by Egyptians to create oil from its seeds, and later was selected for its edible leaves, likely also by Egyptians.
Also known as Spotted Trout, Speckled Trout, Flashy Trout Back, and Freckles.
Photo credit: Red Wagon Plants, Hinesburg, VT.
Days to maturity: 55-60
Seeds per pack: 100
Planting / harvesting notes
Seed every 1" in rows 8-12" apart, 1/4-1/2" deep. Keep watered until germination. Thin to every 8". Harvest when you can't wait anymore!
Seed keeping notes
Lettuce is very much self-pollinating, but give at least 10 feet between plants (we give at least 35 feet) to avoid unwanted cross-pollination from flying insects. Allow the plants to bolt and flower. Often, flowering lettuce benefits from simple staking (we tie several plants together) so that the flowers and seedheads do not fall to the ground. Seed is ripe when the flowers turn to 'feathers', which are fluff balls like dandelions. In the moist summers of Pennsylvania, we harvest the entire seedheads when at least 50% of the plant has gone to seed. If there are dry days in the forecast, feel free to wait longer for more ripe seed. Cut the seedheads a few feet down, and allow to dry about a week in a sunny dry place like a greenhouse, sunny window, or even a car seat. Later, wearing a handkerchief or mask to avoid breathing in the feathers and dust, bang the seedheads in a bucket allowing the seed to fall to the bottom. The ripest seeds fall, the least ripe stay in the plant, so do not over do it. Sift through strainers to remove the large chaff, and then use your breath, a fan, or the wind to carefully blow off the smaller dust.