Love Apple Farms penned by Carolyn Jung.
no longer news when chefs shop at farmers' markets or buy direct from
local growers. But if chefs aspire to the next level of produce
perfection, they may just have to grow the vegetables themselves.
was the reasoning behind David Kinch's decision to add farmer to his
résumé. The chef/owner of Manresa, the acclaimed restaurant in Los
Gatos, California, Kinch wanted to distinguish his kitchen from others
doing market-based cooking. "Naively, I thought I could grow my own
vegetables, because a chef's job is so easy," jokes Kinch.
when a nearby farmer suggested an exclusive relationship, Kinch realized
that was a wiser idea. Cynthia Sandberg's Love Apple Farms now harvests
as many as 300 different fruits, vegetables, and herbs destined only
"Getting the quantities right is the hardest part,"
says Sandberg, who grew way too many salad greens at first. Kinch, for
his part, finds a challenge in ensuring that not a leaf goes to waste.
"Who knew that when lettuce bolts, you can peel and steam that bolting
part, and it tastes like asparagus?" says the chef.
with Sandberg in not about saving money (he doesn't, says Kinch) or
about nurturing his locavore spirit. "It's a commitment to excellence,"
says the chef, "and it has made the restaurant evolve into a much more