We've just had our coldest temperatures since last winter here on the farm. We saw single digit temperatures; my truck thermometer said 8* on Tuesday morning which is well below freezing. It begs the question: will the lettuce and spinach survive these cold temperatures? The answer is: it depends.
We scouted our lettuce and spinach tunnels on Tuesday afternoon and we're pretty sure that not all of the lettuce is frozen and damaged. In fact, it seems like our lettuce mix varieties of lettuce did well with only around 10-30% of it freezing beyond saving. The head lettuces are a different story. It seems like most of the head lettuce froze. Lettuce has some ability to recover from frost damage so if we hit a warm streak it's possible (though somewhat unlikely) that the head lettuce will recover. We'll keep a close eye on it.
The spinach is totally fine. Spinach has a much higher tolerance for cold temperatures than lettuce. So much so that we're experimenting with over wintering spinach to have at our winter farmers market stand all winter long. That's the goal but depending on the weather we have it may not be possible.
Lettuce in December is always a bit of a gamble. We hedged our bet by harvesting lettuce on Sunday afternoon to make sure we had lettuce available for the upcoming Winter CSA delivery on December 2nd. While we do always try to harvest lettuce so it's as fresh as possible we figured with the shelf life our lettuce has and the risk of loosing it that it was better to harvest early to guarantee lettuce for the upcoming delivery.
Will we have lettuce for the final winter share delivery on December 16th? I think we will but it will depend greatly on the weather in the next 10 days.