The New York Times recently ran an article on a new phenomenon: farmers who provide chefs with unusual, heirloom, and specialty vegetables for their culinary creations. Or should I say it's the other way around. Chefs are asking farmers for the varieties they want for their restaurants, and of course farmers are only too happy to oblige.
Chefs visit farms, inspect growing conditions, meet farmers and develop relationships with them, the article reports. And I suppose "new" isn't really accurate: plenty of chefs have had relationships with farmers for decades, and have supported them through tough times as well as bountiful ones. The interesting aspect to me is the focus on less common varieties of veggies. As more foodies demand heirloom and specialty veggies, opportunities open up for small farmers willing to grow whatever the restaurant requires.
Do you grow a specialty item? Do you sell directly to restaurants or have plans to do so?