Four major seed companies control over 60 percent of the world’s seed sales. Although this may mean nothing to you, it does mean that most fruits and vegetables all look and taste the same. But now, Dan Barber, a James Beard award-winning chef with two New York restaurants and Chef on Netflix’s series “Chef’s Table” is out to change the produce market.
One day, a Monsanto (now Bayer) executive was talking about how they were investing over $1 million on corn research. Barber, who was present when the executive was talking, thought that not only could that money go to more research, but it didn’t have to cost so much to get better results. “That’s more than all organic plant research in the United States in 20 years,” Barber said. “What an abomination of wasted resources. ”
And so, Barber invested a lot less money and took his team at Row 7 and began working on ways to make the average vegetable more than ordinary.
One of the best ways to revamp anything, whether it be a room or your hair, is to change the color. Row 7 knows this and has been working on vegetables that have a different color than usual.
Introducing a purple snow pea. Nicknamed “Beauregarde” after Violet Beauregarde from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the purple pea is a rich purple color that keeps its color even after it’s cooked- unlike other purple vegetables whose color bleeds when put in boiling water. “Part of the brilliance of purple anything, whether it’s a plant or a vegetable, is that it’s so nutrient-dense,” said Barber. “If you’re going to choose your diet, you should choose darker colors because that is where the vitamins and minerals are.”
And although this pea looks a little unusual compared to the ordinary green sweet pea, it’s not genetically modified, according to Barber. “The first thing people say is, ‘Is this genetically modified?’ Like, no, this is a kind of breeding that our great grandparents were doing,” Barber said.