Although plenty of chefs are turning to urban rooftop farms for their produce these days, the owners of Smörgas Chef have taken things one step further: They’ve opened their own farm, one that isn’t part of the New York City skyline.
Per Crain’s, Min Ye and Morten Sohlberg decided to open Blenheim Hill Farm after becoming disillusioned with some of the suppliers for their chainlet of Scandinavian restaurants. Apparently there was some dishonesty about how the animals were raised and slaughtered, a problem Ye and Sohlberg have solved by raising their own livestock. Their $1 million farm also has a hydroponic greenhouse and maple-syrup production facilities.
With any luck, the couple will use that greenhouse to grow some heirloom fruit and vegetables. Because as a chart recently published in National Geographic shows us, some 93 percent of heirloom varieties went extinct between 1903 and 1983.
Whereas there were 544 varieties of cabbage in 1903, for example, by 1983 there were a mere 28. And while Greenmarket shoppers may salivate over heirloom tomatoes at this time of year, they’ve only got 79 varieties to fetishize, as opposed to 408 that were grown in this country in 1903. Although heirloom seed catalogs are doing their part to preserve what they can, they’re fighting a tough battle against the world’s endless and fearsome army of genetically modified Monsanto crops.
But regardless of what is grown in Blenheim Hill Farm’s greenhouse, we can at least safely assume it won’t taste like exhaust fumes.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 18, 2011