If you’ve ever waited on line, anxiously, for a limited 20-pound bag of Stone Free Farm fall carrots – pacing like a junkie – only to find they’ve sold out in fifteen minutes, you are not alone.
The lucky ones stroll away grinning, like they’ve just bought 20 pounds of endorphins, or sunk some cash in the savings plan: Root Vegetable Security. And you may wonder, “what is it,” about those orange missiles of beta-carotene that sell out every week, May through October, totaling 16,000 pounds of carrots (at $2 per pound) by season’s end?
Since our last issue, you have been on the infamous Bravo show, Top Chef. How did that come about? Were you, in a sense, discovered?
Eliza Gavin: I can’t really talk much about the interview process, but I can tell you that I was made aware that they were doing auditions in Denver, so I flew up their on a lark. It seemed like something fun to do. And from there it took on a life of its own, if you will.
First, forget everything you know about farming in the Southwest. Pull up the black snaking lines of your irrigation system – the ones you know to be the very circulatory system of your garden. Next, shelve the gardening books, including those that tantalizingly promise you can grow more vegetables on less land, in less time, with less money. The knowledge you need is passed from grandfather to father to son, accumulated like one’s very DNA. Abandon fertilizers, whether they’re sourced from a bag, your neighbor’s cows, or the compost pile you tend with maternal love.