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Farmer of the Week: Chef Bob

by on June 14, 2012

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UrbanFig is excited to introduce you to Chef Bob. His family-owned business uses organically and locally grown produce for his catering business.   Bob changed his own life by going organic and now he’s on a mission to  provide fresh ingredients to his customers.  He also grows his own food at home.  His small business is an inspiration and a glimpse into how businesses can operate by using local organic produce. It’s good for the earth and good for our health.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST START YOUR COMPANY?
We established ourselves in 1995 with a bakery, “The Ole Springville Bakery” and  in 2001 a tea room called “The Chocolate Cottage.” We have now established Chefbob.com, Inc. in 2009 and  “Catering by Chef Bob.” We have been named one of Birmingham’s best caterers.

HOW MANY EMPLOYEES DO YOU HAVE?
I have been married for 28 years and my wife and 4 children make up our team – the entire family. President, Chef Bob, Vice President, Darlene, Chief operations officer, Angela, Chef de Cuisine, Richard, Marketing & Sales, Nathan, Finance & Office Manager, Morgan.

EXPLAIN HOW YOUR COMPANY UTILIZES THE ORGANICALLY (AND LOCALLY) GROWN FOOD?
We were all headed down a path of health destruction. We were all extremely over-weight. I myself was a whopping 386 pounds before I realized I had to change my life. We all flipped our eating to mostly whole foods and a 60% plant-based diet. In the past 2 years we have lost over 350 pounds as a family. Three of us are still obese but are living a healthy life style and on the right path. We would cook 4 or 5 days worth of meals ahead and portion them in containers. That way our meals were ready and we didn’t over eat. A close friend asked us to do the same for her, then someone else and another, now I have a new leg of our business. I called it Fit2Eat. We have 140 members and 40+ are active every single week totaling 400+ meals a week. Our friend began growing vegetables for us on his mom’s 5 acres. We bought all he could produce. Now he has purchased a 20 acre farm and he grows JUST for our company. We buy all our eggs from him and everything he can produce. We compost all our trimmings back to him, save seeds for him and create food for the goats out of our vegetable peels. It is so unbelievably exciting.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR GROWER.
His name is Cliff Whooten and he has two full-time farm hands and some volunteers. He has chickens, goats, two pigs, rabbits, and donkeys as well as many vegetables planted all per our request.

DO YOU ONLY USE ORGANIC FOOD FOR YOUR CATERING COMPANY?
Organic and sustainable. I get very upset when I have to use outsourced produce.

WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT FOR COMPANIES LIKE YOURS TO USE ORGANIC AND LOCALLY GROWN FOOD?
It is simple health and economics. It is the way life is supposed to be.

DO YOU ADVERTISE THIS TO YOUR CUSTOMERS? WHAT IS THEIR RESPONSE?
My customers love us for our commitment to them.

DO YOU HAVE YOUR OWN GARDEN AT HOME?
I have two garden towers, both aeroponic.

WHAT DO YOU GROW?
Lettuces, basil, tomatoes, cucumbers and peas. I also have micro-green trays growing.

HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR GARDEN GROWING WITH SUCH A BUSY SCHEDULE?
Ha Ha! With our tower gardens. It’s easy, self-contained and watered on a timer.

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T HAVE A VEGGIE GARDEN (YET)?
You will try it and you will forever be hooked.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. My entire family works together to improve the heath of others. We all strive for a healthier lifestyle and “ground to plate” is our passion.

If you would like to learn more about Chef Bob, check out his videos.
Chef Bob Episode 1
Chef Bob Episode 2
Chef Bob Episode 3

Carol Carimi Acutt

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