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Food Lovers Encyclopedia: Wisdom

Shu Takikawa shows off the greenness of his thumb

Illustration by John Burgoyne

“In the Santa Ynez Valley we don’t have much fog or overcast conditions—that makes for very red leaves. The colors are brilliant. I can tell when the lettuce is going to taste good just by looking at the color. Also, when I feel it with my hand, I can sense if something is wrong. If it’s dry or not juicy, then it’s bitter. But I can only use my left hand to tell. When I harvest, I use a knife in my right hand and my left hand feels the lettuce. Even if it’s dark, I can sense the quality by feel. But I can’t do it with my right hand. It’s a funny thing.” > Mar Vista Farmers’ Market, Grand View at Venice Blvd.