Location: Northern California
Bon Appétit Chef: Bob Hart, Yahoo!
Why I am a Farmer:
Simply put: I love to grow things. It’s not about the money it’s about growing produce that is full of flavor.
What I Grow:
I grow a lot of things. I especially love heirloom varietals. Last summer I started growing a Native American summer squash, which has a totally different flavor profile than conventional summer squash. It also holds up better when cooked. The chefs at Bon Appétit got very excited about the squash so this year we ended up planting more. Working so closely with the chefs at Bon Appétit means that we are constantly experimenting to cultivate produce with the best possible flavor profiles and that hold up to the cooking process.
What Sustainability Means to Me:
Sustainability means many things; it means growing produce without using chemical herbicides, pesticides or poisons. Additionally, I use all natural fertilizer, made from compost and I think what results are the best tasting vegetables.
How Bon Appétit Management Company is Different:
Bon Appétit is different because the chefs and the company are flavor focused so they source ingredients that are as flavorful and sustainably produced as possible.
How Bon Appétit has Helped Me Thrive:
Local growers usually don’t cultivate enough produce to do business with supermarkets, leaving them with very few and unreliable outlets to sell their produce. Bon Appétit’s purchasing power has had a tremendous effect however, allowing the smaller producer to really thrive. In some cases they have purchased more land. The biggest impact has been that the smaller producer is not at the mercy of the market, they are ensured by Bon Appétit’s decision to buy local to have a consistent and reliable market for their produce.
One Person I Admire at Bon Appétit:
There are many reasons why this company is admirable but there is one story that explains why Bon Appétit is so great. My farm manager forgot to irrigate one plot of tomatoes and they all ripened at once. They had to be used immediately or otherwise would go to waste. 200 lbs of tomatoes wasted was unimaginable, so I called one of the chefs at Bon Appétit to see if he could use them. He invited me to his kitchen and together we made marinara from heirloom tomatoes, it sounds decadent but it was delicious. It’s just an example of how you can make lemonade from lemons, and since the chefs at Bon Appétit are real chefs they can do amazing things.