This is the time of year to toss up lots of crisp cool salads and especially to take advantage of fresh native greens such as chicory, escarole and other varieties.
Although heavy spring rains damaged many lettuce crops in some areas, many fields were drained and several varieties of lettuce are in the markets.
When shopping for lettuce let freshness be your guide. Romaine and Iceberg lettuces should be crisp and although the leaves of Bibb, butterhead and looseleaf lettuces will be softer they should not be wilted.
For best storage, lettuce should be washed well and drained as dry as possible before refrigerating.
It will keep longest in the crisper or in plastic bags or containers.
For a change of pace consider making a ''layered salad.'' After preparing the greens and other favorite salad ingredients make layers of some of the following.
Bite-size pieces of romaine lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced red onion, sliced radishes, hard cooked eggs, and finally a sprinkling of alfalfa sprouuts, crumbled bacon and croutons.
As the growing season progresses there are more and more fresh vegetables to include in a layered salad. Top them off with the dressing of your choice.