Celebrating the Salad: From the Monticello Gardens to Your Own Backyard

COMPLETED  Virtual Event
Tickets Coming Soon!

Important information about this virtual class:

  • Can’t make the live event date? 72 hours after the event, all ticket holders receive a link to enjoy the recorded program for a limited period of time
  • Ticket confirmation instructions include a private webpage link with information on how to prepare for your class. This link goes live 2-weeks prior to the class date.

“I have lived temperately, eating little animal food, and that … as a condiment for the vegetables, which constitute my principal diet.”

– Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Vine Utley, March 1819

Thomas Jefferson’s 1,000-foot terraced garden at Monticello was an experimental laboratory where some 89 species and more than 330 varieties of vegetables were cultivated. Between 1809 and 1824, lettuce was planted at Monticello five-to-six times each year, with Brown Dutch and Tennis Ball as two of the most prominent varieties.

Salad at the Monticello dining table likely included a mixed bouquet of greens that included spinach, endive, mache, pepper grass, French sorrel, cress, sprouts and more. “Sallad oil,” or dressing, was a passion of Jefferson, who favored imported olive oils and wine vinegars.

In this virtual workshop, participants will learn about Jefferson’s gardens and the enslaved gardeners who grew and harvested vegetables at Monticello, followed by instruction on how to grow delicious salad ingredients in your own backyard.

This event will be led by Monticello’s Heritage Harvest Festival Ambassador, Kevin West. From cookbook author to food consultant, avid grower and gardener, West has recently turned his attention to a new writing project scheduled for release next year – a practical guide to growing what you eat. West will be joined by Monticello Senior Historian Ann Lucas, who will share stories of the enslaved African Americans involved in every aspect of gardening on the plantation. Jason Young, Monticello’s Manager and Curator of Historic Gardens, will introduce the session and provide an update on our farms and gardens today.

At the conclusion of the class, Monticello Farm Table Chef David Bastide will demonstrate a seasonal salad bowl recipe that incorporates produce gathered locally and from Monticello’s gardens, including an adapted version of Jefferson’s “tarragon sallad-oil” – a staple on his Monticello dining table.

Highlights of the class will include:

  • How to grow and nurture salad ingredients, including lettuces, spinach, radishes, kale, tomatoes and herbs
  • Incorporating Monticello’s Heirloom Vegetable Seed Collection into your home garden
  • Planting legacies: The contribution of enslaved gardeners at Monticello
  • Salad bowl recipe and demonstration by Monticello Farm Table Chef, David Bastide