I have been an independent, professional businessperson for approximately 35 years, first with a small software company, and the last six years or so as a grower of premium organic vegetables.
I have been a produce supplier for the Café at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix since the day it opened. I have worked with hundreds of businesspeople. At the risk of inflating their egos, I have to say that I have never had a more professional, supportive, and friendly relationship than with Executive Chef Edward Farrow [now working for Bon Appétit in St. Louis] and Sous Chef Chris Lenza [now executive chef at MIM]. They are the epitome of what “locavore” should be about. It took me a while to recognize that it’s a lot harder for chefs to deal with local producers, with all of our daily variables and lurking and actual disasters, than it is to just buy everything from the “big truck.” But I know I speak for many of my peers here in saying that the depth and quality of support I receive from them and the entire Bon Appétit organization has been critical to my ability to remain in this business and, hopefully, eventually prosper.
Few realize how really difficult and risky this business is — I know I didn’t when I started. It’s not only the most physically demanding thing I’ve ever done by far, but the economics of just trying to stay in business and deliver a quality product week after week are daunting. I have called upon Edward on more than one occasion to rescue me from a potential costly vegetable disaster. “Send it to me” is his unfailing response. That sort of support is seldom seen these days. Now, having said that, if he knew as much about football as he does about food, he would be a much better human being, but I am working on that…. Thank you for this opportunity to express my appreciation.
—From our Bravo 25th anniversary issue