At first, this seemed a surprising answer for a product specialist who has in-depth knowledge of the 2,000-plus vegetables, herbs, greens (and more!) that we grow. From luscious, sweet and nutty eggplant to the entire rainbow of edible flowers bursting with color and flavor – and from the tremendous diversity of beans to enticing herbs that brilliantly enhance fine dishes – Brenda chose lettuce.
Upon reflection, though, lettuce is the perfect choice for Brenda. Read on to see if you agree.
A typical day for Brenda starts at 5:30 a.m. when she checks her phone for any urgent orders from chefs. “I know,” she says, “that it’s difficult for them to look too far into the future. Many of them work long days, planning menus, ordering products, managing staff in the kitchen, and much more. So, I always check early in the morning to see what they need.”
She arrives at The Chef’s Garden before 8:00 a.m., when she fires up her computer and begins entering orders. Because the ordering deadline for the day is 10 a.m., Brenda mentally runs through the list of chefs she serves – and, if she knows one or more is likely to miss the deadline, she gives them a call. “For example,” she explains, “I might know that someone always wants produce delivered on a Wednesday, and it’s getting close to Tuesday’s ordering deadline. So, I give that chef a call. It might be that he or she is short on kitchen help that day and lost track of time, so the call is appreciated.”
Throughout the rest of the day, Brenda makes and takes calls from chefs and attends product meetings so she possesses up-to-the-moment information about available products. “In the summer,” she says, “we can have new products available every week, even every couple of days.” Her day at the farm ends around 6 p.m. and, after enjoying her own dinner at home, she does another email check to make sure chefs have all they need. Then, she can’t resist doing one more email check-in, usually around 10:30-11 p.m.
Now, back to lettuce.
Lettuce is a staple of healthy, delicious meals, perfect for every day. Delicious all by itself, it also serves as the foundation of numerous dishes limited only by a chef’s ingenuity and creativity. Meanwhile, Brenda is a staple at The Chef’s Garden as she focuses on supporting chefs with her expertise on a daily basis, expertise that provides the foundation information needed and appreciated by culinary professionals.
And here’s what Brenda loves about lettuce. “It’s absolutely one of the best things we grow, without question,” she says. “There is so much flavor in our lettuces and so much variety and sizing available to chefs. Too often, people settle for bagged products with little to no flavor, when the fresh, delicious lettuce that we grow is ten times better.”
With The Chef’s Farm lettuces, the salad truly can be appreciated as much as the entrée. There’s the mild and nutty lollo rossa lettuce, the emerald crystal lettuce that’s salty at the start but ends with a refreshing citrusy flavor and so much more, including lettuce mixes that include the premiere choices of the day. If you haven’t thought about lettuce in this way before, it’s definitely worth a second look.
Here are nine other things Brenda loves:
Working with chefs as they are creating new dishes and new menus
The crazy busy holiday season at the farm
The tender and delicious flavor of English peas
When a chef tries products from the farm for the very first time
When the farm is growing products that are ahead of the curve
Making chefs happy
The dedication of people who work at the farm
How consistent our products are in quality