Perpetually clad in his trademark overalls and a red bowtie, Farmer Lee Jones is a pioneer of the sustainable agricultural movement who continues to keep The Chef’s Garden on the cutting edge of the produce business. His family’s 300-acre vegetable farm in Huron, Ohio grows the best-tasting and most nutritious specialty vegetables herbs and micro greens in the world. The family lives by a commitment to producing food that looks good, tastes good and is good for you.
Farmer Lee Jones and the passionate team members at The Chef’s Garden harvest daily from their “growing inventory” of vegetables, herbs and greens, and ship them direct from the farm to restaurants around the world. As a small part of a chef’s culinary team, the farm is dedicated to providing the safest, most flavorful and nutritious ingredients possible by using sustainable agricultural methods.
Working alongside his dad and brother, Farmer Lee Jones guides the team at The Chef’s Garden to find new ways to become more sustainable while producing the best quality ingredients possible. Just some of the ways The Chef’s Garden team delivers safe products with the exceptional shelf life, flavor and nutrition that their discerning customers demand include rebuilding soil naturally rather than chemically; conducting continual seed, soil and plant testing; employing a sophisticated trace-back and food safety program; and rediscovering unique and heirloom varieties.
Collaboration with chefs is at the forefront of The Chef’s Garden’s success, so Farmer Lee Jones and the Jones family built The Culinary Vegetable Institute in 2003. This culinary retreat and learning facility offers a venue for menu development and team building as well as public and private events. Farmer Lee Jones was also instrumental in the vision and creation of Veggie U, a non-profit that distributes classroom garden kits and an interactive curriculum to teach children nationwide about healthy eating habits and sustainable agriculture.
Much in demand as a speaker and expert on sustainable agriculture, Farmer Lee Jones frequently presents at national and international seminars. He has spoken at The Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone Flavor Summit, The American Culinary Federation’s National Convention, the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs National Conference and Chef Raymond Blanc’s American Food Revolution in Oxford, England.
Farmer Lee Jones was honored with the Who’s Who in Food and Beverage award by The James Beard Foundation in 2011 and sat on the board of Chef Magazine. He and the farm have been featured in numerous national publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Cooking Light, Newsweek and The Washington Post. He was previously Food Arts Magazine’s Produce Pro, contributing articles about unique ingredients grown at The Chef’s Garden. He was also name one of The Daily Meal’s “60 Coolest People in Food” in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Farmer Lee Jones currently sits on the advisory boards of Modern Farmer, Chef Concept and Chef Magazine.
The Chef’s Garden has been chronicled by “The Martha Stewart Show,” “Roker on the Road,” “CNN Business Unusual,” and ABC World News, and Farmer Lee Jones was the first farmer ever to judge the popular Food Network show “Iron Chef America.” He appeared in an episode of the Food Network’s “Food Network Star” as well as “Restaurant: Impossible” along with First Lady Michelle Obama. Farmer Lee Jones has also been heard on “Fresh Air,” “All Things Considered” and “The Story.”
When not farming, visiting chefs or attending industry events, Farmer Lee Jones enjoys spending time with his wife, Mary, walking in the woods with his Golden Retrievers, Thyme and Tansy, and caring for his team of Belgian horses.