Inspiring LA Times story about chefs turned farmers

Chefs, farmers join forces
David Sundeen Jr. and wife Susan Dumeyer spent a year on the farm of Bill and Barbara Spencer, and the result was higher revenue and tastier ingredients for restaurant clients.

By Jenn Garbee Special to the Los Angeles Times

January 19, 2012
It’s ironic, in a rosemary-infused sort of way, that in today’s farm-to-table restaurant era few chef-and-farmer relationships have evolved into the true collaborations those farm-specific menus often suggest. Their lives tend to exist in parallel worlds, firmly rooted together but never quite merging.

Like many farmers, Bill and Barbara Spencer of Windrose Farm have long focused their energy on the growing needs of their produce, such as Ashmead’s Kernel and Hudson Golden Gem apples, on their 70-acre farm just outside Paso Robles. Their chef customers, including David Sundeen Jr., 36, and his wife, Susan Dumeyer, 40, have made all of the apple-inspired culinary decisions.

But what if, for an entire year, those chefs were farmers? Not as pickers, though Sundeen and Dumeyer did plenty of apple hauling during those 12-hour workdays on Windrose Farm. Nor as chefs-in-residence, even if the couple’s cooking leans toward apple cobbler-type fare. But as the farm’s new managers.

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