Peter Rabbit almost met his end when he ate the lettuces in Mr. McGregor’s vegetable patch. Beatrix Potter’s naughty little bunny became drowsy and slow in movement, and almost got himself captured by the man with the gun! Potter’s favourite animal creation had suffered the side effects of eating too much fresh garden lettuce. Lucky Peter managed to escape, but not before losing his lovely blue jacket and shoes in the getaway. His mother wasn’t best pleased.  So what exactly happened to Peter? It’s thought that lettuce has subtle soporific properties. A natural drowsy drug!   The milky juice of  freshly cut lettuce is said to contain a calming sedative. We think that just like the fictitious rabbit, you’d have to eat rather a lot of lettuce heads to feel the effects. Still,  you may just want to eat a lot of the classic soft round lettuce now coming into season.  Salad leaves come in all shapes, sizes,  textures, flavours and colours. But the old fashioned garden lettuces that were once the only lettuces you could find are still staying their ground – excuse our pun.  We seem to have forgotten them with the trend for Oakleaf, Lolla Rossa and the like. Point to note, though. Soft green lettuce leaves need to be eaten fresh. They wilt quickly when cut. Limp lettuce? No thank you.  You can keep a head of lettuce fresh in the fridge by popping it in a bowl with a small amount of cold water in the bottom to keep the stem moistened. Pick off the leaves as you need them and you should have sprightly greens every time. Look in GFI’s Farm Shops or your local farmer’s market for chemical free, garden grown lettuces this season.