My friends at Chef's Garden and Veggie U. have asked me to help spread the word about their annual fete and they're such fine folks who create some of the world's best greens and vegetables, I'm happy to encourage any and all to join them on Saturday in Milan, OH.  Their flyer is below or go to their site, Chef's Garden, or to Veggie U, their educational branch for more info.  They're good folks and have a great story (here's Amanda Hesser's profile in The Times).  A commercial farming family for 40 years, they were wiped out by a hail storm in the early 80s.  Their choice was, well, I don't know, but commercial farming was out and they didn't know what else to do—so they thought outside the box and began to grow directly for chefs.  They became custom growers, maybe the first of their kind.  They're now thriving, feeding and educating.

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10 Wonderful responses to “Chef’s Garden Event this Saturday”

  • Cooking Zuni

    This is a beautiful story that brought tears to my eyes. It’s the classic example of turning lemons to lemonade! I’m sure all your readers wish they could go; I know I do.

  • Kate in the NW

    Wow. If I’m really, really good in this life (yeah, riiiiight…) maybe I’ll go there when I die. And then Heath Putnam and his piggies will move in next door. Then all the chefs. And a vineyard. Oh – and I’ll need cheese….

    This is a wonderful story, and I am so pleased to hear about every level of this business (growing practices, education, farm-to-table ethic, etc), save one…which is the criminal use of fossil fuels to deliver everything.

    I truly hope that this sort of venture will inspire farmers (and chefs, and home cooks)who can provide local markets to make this sort of farming (and eating!) sustainable.

    Ohhhhh, I want to try those hops shoots. I grow golden hops in my yard and can almost taste them, just from the fragrance in the back yard.

  • luis

    Great stuff, far away. Eating vegetables in any form always makes me feel happier and better. This is were my cooking is going.
    Still the only rules I have found on combining vegetables is/are “By Color”. I guess veggieU is about growing your own veggies more so than what to do with them?.
    I will read some more. Even Rippert’s approach to veggies seems to be one at a time in that toaster oven of his.
    I have a brined orange pineaple turkey breast done for today. Orange and yellow, sweet and more sweet with carrots and celery and a touch of mojo. vegetable soups are on my mind next.

  • Vicente Aseneta

    How about an Iron Chef challenge billed as Battle Elephant Garlic, featuring The Neelys and Danny Boome Vs. Michael Ruhlman, Andrew Knowlton, and Doc Gibbs (from Live with Emeril)?

    The winner gets an all expenses paid train vacation to Gilmore, CA.

  • Dot

    I went to this function a few years ago when the first Season of Top Chef were the guests, it was your typical food and wine event and all went well. I just hope they addressed the issue of heat- a ton of people packed into the tents in 90 degree weather and humidity-they gave out super small bottles of water or you’d have to walk back to the entrance of the tent for tiny plastic cone cups and help yourself to 2 jugs of water. I think there were only about 3 fans blowing. Bring your own water, dress light and you should have a good time.

  • HappyHoarfrost

    Veggie U is fascinating! In my pre-mom life, I taught 4th grade (oh, this age is one of my favorite little species); I wish I could have implemented this curriculum.
    I taught in the DC suburbs and in Atlanta, my father taught 4th grade in VA (Norfolk),and in OH(Oxford)–and between us we were horrifed by the state of school children’s eating habits in these presumably progressive places (be it public OR affluent independent school). Kids just do not know how to make good choices, and vegetable are not on the radar. There is a sickening love of white rice & everything refined and let’s repeat: “Corn is not really a vegetable…” The only way most kids will eat a veggie is if it’s fried and called Veggie “poppers!” “dipperz!” or “jamz!” I saw obesity, disordered eating…anorexia and bulimia on the 4th grade level. Hideous polarization, all based on poor choices, lack of education.
    Yesterday, I took my kids picking at a local farm–first-hand, I can’t underestimate the connection between a real beet poking out of the soil, and a child’s willingness to try one.
    I will say I’m noticing that “sustainable agriculture” is becoming a new buzzterm in my moms’ group (an urban group of 200+, they’re always an interesting predictor)–much like “organic” was several years ago. I’m not knocking it, if some awareness comes of it…it’s just nice to see the Chef’s Garden and Veggie U doing something so, so well. And right.
    I will pass this information to all the schools where I have contacts, and am happy to link to it and perpetuate as much as possible (hey, I’m no Michael Ruhlman with tongs-of-influence, but I will do what I can!)
    Thanks for this post–I missed it the first time.
    4th grade seems like perfect timing for this curriculum–students are capable of small but critical observations and thinking, a willingness and joy to get dirty…and it’s right before the hormones set in. Then you have to wait until about 35 before introducing a new concept.

  • ian

    mr ruhlman- heard about your “Golden Clog” skit. very poor taste and childish behavior

    bring back robert to dinner impossible (BBR !). the cleveland guy is weak

  • Linda

    I’m delighted to see that these folks are doing what they’re doing. In my neck of the woods, many individual families do the same, growing their own gardens, canning, peserving, and storing their produce in root cellars. It’s what sustainable gardening should be about. I sometimes wonder how many food bloggers actually do their own canning, preserving, and root cellar storage. Or even their own hunting, meat raising, and butchering. It gives one pause for thought….