We’re entering the season when warm weather and cool weather crops converge in delicious harmony; when the flavors from the field are as diverse as the colors of the rainbow; when tomatoes and carrots, or beets and beans, provide infinite choices to pack the menu full of veggies. Seize this opportunity to showcase all the goodness that grows from the ground.
There’s an abundance of color everywhere we turn. Not only are the herb blooms bountiful in the mid-summer heat, many vegetables are flowering to signal the end of their fruit-bearing phase. Luckily, succession planting ensures that we will continue to supply vegetables, greens, herbs AND their blossoms throughout the remaining outdoor growing season. In the spirit of using all parts of a plant, be sure not to overlook the edible flowers that abound in our colorful gardens.
Although chefs’ cooking styles and regional flavor vary widely, there are certain vegetables, herbs and greens they simply cannot live without. Chefs rely on ubiquitous ingredients like carrots, cilantro, cucumbers, beets, basil and tomatoes every day. While we’re known for growing unusual things, here’s a friendly reminder that we’re a source for top-quality, sustainably grown staples as well.
In addition to serving about 1,000 guests that descended on The Culinary Vegetable Institute this past weekend, chefs who participated in Veggie U’s 10th Annual Food and Wine Celebration competed for the best dish in “La Batalla” sponsored by Steelite International America. Their dishes were judged on visual presentation, incorporation of a world flavor, use of The Chef’s Garden’s products, and inspiration behind plate selection. Click through to find out who won!
Part of the fun in any job is the chance to be creative. New and different ingredients offer chefs the opportunity to explore how flavors, textures and colors combine to please the senses. Lucky for them, it’s the time of year when new arrivals are plentiful. Try a new variety of one of your favorite ingredients, one that’s new for the season or something that’s brand new to our offerings. The act of creating will be fun and rewarding when guests savor the results!
Every second that passes brings our Heirloom Tomatoes closer to their perfect ripeness, and our team in the Tomato House is standing watch. We’ll pick it at just the right moment and send it on its way to your kitchen still smelling of the sun and the vine. Unless you serve ‘em whole with a hanky to catch the juice, as Farmer Lee Jones prefers, all that’s needed on your end is a sharp knife and a pinch of salt.
Have you been anxiously awaiting the arrival of summer’s first tomatoes like we have? Well…your wait is over, because the Baby Specialty and Toy Box varieties are here with Heirlooms trickling in on their heels. This year, we’re introducing dozens of new flavors and colors to an already diverse assortment, so we highly recommend a taste test with a case of Mixed Tomatoes. We pride ourselves on picking varieties for their distinctive flavor, so each one will please the palate in a unique way.
Summer has arrived with an explosion of flavors to excite the taste buds. Few things add more dimension to a dish than fresh herbs, which are thriving in the summer sun. With field production in full swing, we have the widest variety of flavored sages, basils, mints and more, and they’re flowering as far as the eye can see. Eating flowering herbs and veggies is unfamiliar to many diners, so they add a dimension of fun to the meal as well! It’s the perfect season to bring all nature’s diverse colors, forms and flavors to the plate.
It’s not quite summer, but an abundance of squash and squash blossoms signals its speedy approach. As things heat up around here, flowers are popping up on more than just the squash! Thyme is flowering beautifully, and the citrus coriander blooms are looking as spectacular as ever. The transition between seasons yields a superb diversity of ingredients to make “work” in the kitchen more fun.
Take a moment out of your hectic day for a little peas and quiet…