Farmer Lee Jones always wears his trademark overalls and red bowtie as a symbol of his commitment to sustainable agricultural practices. Ever since the early days of The Chef’s Garden’s creation over thirty years ago, he has remained tirelessly committed to not only ensuring that the family’s three hundred acre farm remains one of the most innovative and pioneering in the world, but to fostering a nuanced conversation with the chefs in our industry who look to the farm to grow fresh vegetables that are as aesthetically pleasing on the plate as they are flavorful to the palate.
He is devoutly committed to the chefs he works with in all corners of the world and takes great pride in the relationships he has with the people who have become his mentors, guiding light and inspiration. These are the bonds that have inspired the highest quality, most flavorful and extraordinary vegetables in the world and for Farmer Lee Jones, every day promises a new opportunity to connect with the chefs who have helped to make the farm the pioneering leader in sustainable agriculture that it is today.
Farmer Lee Jones also works alongside his dad and brother on the farm, inspiring The Chef’s Garden team to perpetually discover innovative ways to become more sustainable while at the same time producing the highest quality ingredients possible. He is committed to rediscovering, saving and telling the stories of the unique heirloom vegetables that are sustainable farmed, along with microgreens, edible flowers, herbs and more. He is an in-demand speaker and expert on sustainable agriculture and has presented at national and international conferences and seminars including 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.
He was honored to receive the James Beard Foundation’s award for Who’s Who in Food & Beverage, making him one of the first farmers to receive it. He serves on the boards for Chef Magazine, Chef Concept and Modern Farmer. He has been profiled in conjunction with The Chef’s Garden in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Cooking Light, Newsweek and The Washington Post. 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.”
He was previously Food Arts Magazine’s Produce Pro, contributing articles about unique ingredients grown at The Chef’s Garden. He is proud to have been named one of The Daily Meal’s “60 Coolest People in Food” in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 and enjoyed spending time on the farm with television personality Andrew Zimmern for his Bizarre Foods program.
When he’s not farming or traveling to meet with chefs or present at conferences and symposiums, Farmer Lee Jones loves spending time with his wife Mary, walking in the woods with his beloved Golden Retrievers Thyme, Tansy and Ginger, fishing in Lake Erie and caring for his team of Belgian horses. The one thing he can’t do is reveal what his favorite vegetable is because that would be like having to name your favorite child.
Discover more about what Farmer Lee Jones has to say about sustainable farming and more.