On “Food Talk with Dani Nierenberg,” Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, talks about his mission to democratize flavor by making better seeds. At the Second Annual NYC Summit on Food Waste and Food Loss, Barber features his seed company, Row 7, co-founded with Michael Mazourek, which breeds seeds to improve flavor. “We chefs always go nuts for flavor because it just makes us look like better chefs: its total self-interest,” says Barber.
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Breeders have bred “for long-distance travel, storage, and water—to take in water,” says Barber. “The farmer, the distributor, and the marketplace are all making their profits based on weight. So they breed for water, it goes toward weight, and the nutrient density of what you’re eating is a lot lower than it could be.”
Barber, however, is disproving this conventional breeding wisdom. “Row 7 seeds are bred for great flavor and great yield in the field,” says Barber. “There’s a false choice between flavor or nutrient density and yield. It’s crazy: it’s not true. We’re proving that just with our seeds.” In a mission for flavor for all, Row 7 sells the company’s first bred vegetable, the 898 squash.
Photo courtesy of IFT.