Starting in the late fall and all throughout the winter, the seed industry blossoms. Farmers receive catalogs filled with the newest collections of heirloom tomatoes, greens, multi colored beans and funny looking squash. But a new seed company is making headlines, started by Dan Barber, New York’s famous chef of Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Row 7 Seed Co., connects Farmers with seeds of ingredients that have been created with specific flavors in mind.
The company Barber is co-founding, Row 7 Seed Co., is taking a fresh approach to the business. Many farmers, especially those on a larger scale, don’t have access to an immense library of seeds. If seeds don’t produce hearty high yield crops, they often get pushed aside. Row 7 is breeding seeds that are hearty but also flavorful, sustainable, and healthy. Barber hopes that by connecting plant breeders and chefs, the company will develop new seed varieties driven by flavor and nutrition that will be able to gain enough following to compete in the marketplace.
Row 7 assembled some of the best agricultural minds — investors include Walter Robb, the ex co-CEO of Whole Foods, and Richard Schnieders, the former CEO of Sysco Foods, the world’s largest food distributor. Together, their vision is to create a marketplace for seeds, plants, and restaurants.
Barber’s team hopes to popularize produce that chefs had a hand in creating, while giving farmers a way to scale production of these products for national supermarket chains. As Barber tells the New York Times, “Part of the goal of the company is not only to increase the flavor of vegetables: It’s to look at how we, as chefs, can change the culture of eating.”
In the future, might we see varietals of fruits and vegetables listed on menus?
Where do you think this trend will go? Tell us in the comments.