Consumers aren't the only ones seeking locally grown produce these days. Increasingly, chefs are, too. And while these kitchen maestros may not be able to toil in the fields, they can tend to leafy herbs at their restaurants. Joe Edwardsen, owner of Joe Squared on North Avenue, found the perfect spot for his aromatic plants, including oregano, cilantro, and basil—his roof. "I wanted to get the freshest herbs I could possibly get," Edwardsen says. Jason Lear (pictured), executive chef at The Wine Market in Locust Point, also wanted to take advantage of the growing season with pots of herbs, like thyme, mint, basil, and sage, on the restaurant's outdoor patio. "The first advantage, obviously, is that you know the quality you're getting," Lear says. He also adds a few unusual varieties, like lemon verbena. "We like to plant some that people aren't familiar with and add it to dishes," he says. "They ask about the flavor and then can look at [the herb] in the planters."
Local chefs harvest herbs from restaurant gardens
Issue date: July, 2008