If you’ve seen the movie When Harry Met Sally, then you understand the cultural reference “on the side”. Sally orders but then gives the waiter instructions as to how she wants items removed or brought on the side, so she can add as she wants. I get it, I can be particular (aka picky)/ When we cook at home, we can embellish or augment our dishes to suit our flavor preferences – more spice, less salt, no onion, extra garlic. But eating at a fine restaurant where the chef that plans a menu, there is a relationship, a level of trust that you want to experience their vision, their creation. It is like a gallery showing of art. No one would ask the painter to add more red or make it a rectangle instead of a square canvas. I am a foodie. And I am also a very good home cook. I cook clean and fresh and from scratch. So, when we go out, we go for special and original and we search for those places with individual touches. Alachua county is a small and intimate community when compared to our bigger, closer cities like Jax or Orlando or Tampa/St Pete, there are some fantastic chefs creating original menus, displaying a level of expertise that is worthy of trusting.

At Autobarn Farm, we’ve experimented with seeds and lettuces that are unusual and uncommon. We’ve heard one chef tell us that priced per pound, lettuce can cost a kitchen more than steak. And an inspired salad as a first course can be a fantastic salvo to open a meal. And we hope to see some of our less common lettuce offerings on a menu in the near future. Like Frisygo. It is an incised lettuce in the iceberg family. It is juicy, buttery and crisp like our common, round-headed iceberg but with a faint bit of sharpness at the end – more of the green outer leaves of the iceberg and less of the nearly white center. And when a local chef was touring the farm and saw it, she exclaimed, “Frisygo! We can’t get this here. We eat it in Italy all the time!” Tastes are regional, cultural and learned through exposure. I remember eating my first FRESH, raw red tomato in college. A toasted sesame bagel, scooped and loaded with tuna salad and topped with a fat slice of tomato and a slice of Jarlsberg. It was an experience. Or the first time I ate Ahi Tuna with wasabi and ginger. Frisygo was also a new experience. A familiar flavor profile with a subtle twist. It makes a gorgeous and unique spin on a wedge salad. A single head of Frisygo with bleu cheese crumbles, thick, crispy bacon, a hard-boiled egg or fresh sliced strawberries and a creamy buttermilk dressing. It punches the senses and reframes something we thing we knew. Frisygo gives a new perspective. Frisygo will not be a staple crop for the farm but it is a crop we can custom grow for an event planner or a chef who is looking to add a new original dish to their menu.

And that is what we specialize in – providing our chef-artists- the tools and textures for their canvases, so they can create their unique visions. From the time of seeding to harvest, we can grow up to 900 heads of lettuce every week, consistently and without delivery snafus or waste or spoilage. Need 300 pristine plates of a specific lettuce for a bride-to-be or a retirement celebration? Autobarn Farm can provide the perfect element to complete the picture.

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