Chef and Farmer Relationships: A Look at 2020
In a typical year, chef visits are one of the biggest highlights throughout the seasons at The Chef’s Garden and the Culinary Vegetable Institute. We love to have chef teams visit our farm, going for a personal tour as we share what delicious crops we’re growing and describe when we expect them to be at the peak of freshness.
We anticipate when they first catch a whiff of the beautiful scent of rich and healthy soil; when they tour our packing and shipping room to see how seriously we take our food safety program; and when they taste our just-harvested, farm-fresh vegetables, herbs, microgreens, edible flowers and more.
Flavor, flavor, flavor.
During previous years, our chef team at the Culinary Vegetable Institute has looked forward to when restaurant teams used our facilities and grounds to develop new menus and participate in team building activities—and are ready to do so again when the time is right. Plus, of course, we’ve loved hearing all of the innovative ideas that have arisen from our annual Roots conferences and look forward to holding this unique culinary conference again.
This year, of course, has been different. Very different, indeed. And, at first, we weren’t entirely sure how to respond.
Just as families have creatively found ways to stay in contact with people who matter, though, we’ve continued to collaborate with like-minded chefs and entrepreneurs during 2020, curating boxes of quality ingredients so that families can enjoy restaurant experiences in the comforts of their homes. We’ve developed unique marmalades, a variety of edible flower teas, and much more.
We’re grateful to everyone we’ve partnered with in 2020, including the chefs who have contributed recipes to complement those created by our Culinary Vegetable Institute team.
During 2020, we’ve continued to plant, grow, and harvest for our cherished chefs, while also returning to our roots by opening the Farmer Jones Farm Seasonal Market where we’ve met plenty of amazing home cooks.
Agricultural Research Results
Since the last time we hosted chef tours, we’ve received some wonderful news about the richness of minerals in the crops we grow in our healthy soil—news that has been independently verified. Our vegetables have been shown to have 300 to 600 percent more in multiple minerals than USDA baseline nutrient density results.
For example, after comparing the mineral content of kale varieties from our farm to USDA baseline results, our kales exceed USDA numbers for numerous minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and selenium. Our fresh carrots, meanwhile, exceed carotene levels by significant amounts.
Slowly and Gently in Full Accord with Nature
This is how we’ve always grown our vegetables and more at The Chef’s Garden, and this is how we’ll continue to grow them. We’ve slowed our pace in other ways, as well, in 2020, which has given Farmer Lee Jones a chance to mull over the miracles of nature even more than he normally does.
He recently shared his optimism for life beyond 2020, holding on to a spirit of hope. He added how fascinated he is “by how Mother Nature continues to work through us. Our bees have done very well this year, crops keep growing, and the sun keeps rising and setting. So, I’d say that I’m empathetic for the struggles people are going through and believe that, out of the ashes will come new growth, from new collaborations to new community involvement.”
Throughout this transitional winter, we will continue to grow according to the seasons, and we look forward to serving you as the days lighten.