ANZ's Farms

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chef Farmer

Chef farmer -- a title and occupation I learned about by reading the latest issue of my Hobby Farms magazine. A chef farmer is one who grows vegetables, herbs and fruits or has farm fresh products like eggs, milk and cheese to sell directly to a chef(s). The farmer benefits by knowing his products will be purchased and used. The chef benefits by serving foods with locally-grown, fresh and sometimes unique ingredients. The farmers featured in the article expressed great job satisfaction, particularly related to the chef's participation in planning what products to supply. Farming can be a lonely business and is not well-suited to those who thrive on workplace synergy.

So now I am on a quest to find out more. I have a friend of a friend who caters and I am exploring the idea with him in mind. (It helps me to personalize when brainstorming.) I envision pitching the idea to him. I think about what current products from the homestead would take his food to the next level, and what products would need to be added. I ponder seasonal variations and timing the harvest to his needs. I compare my garden and greenhouse space to quantities of produce that would most likely be required. I total my egg tallies, pounds of honey, and goat milk amounts to determine their sufficiency. I do a little soul searching to see if I really want to commit to making cheese on a regular basis; it’s a lot of work and I don’t really enjoy doing it. Yogurt is different, however. I enjoy making it and it’s easy to do.

These thoughts have led to learning more about herbs and herb garden designs. For small scale farming, such as occurs on our homestead, this seems the most practical way to grow. A wide array of fresh herbs offers the greatest benefit to both urban farmer and chef. One has only to sprinkle the right seasoning on an otherwise bland dish to appreciate the culinary value of a well-chosen herb. I imagine herbs can be financially profitable … have you seen the price of a small packet of fresh herbs at the supermarket?!

Will I do it? I don’t know. Will I find a chef partner? I don’t know. Will it be profitable? I don’t know. Is it worth it? Yes, it already is. Reading and learning are great ways to spend rainy winter days. And there is something wonderful about creating and designing, even if it is only on graph paper with pencil marks for now.

No comments:

Post a Comment