What a Farmer Can Teach You About Life

Julia Bainbridge
·Food Editor

California chef David Kinch’s Manresa restaurant suffered a two-alarm fire earlier this year, but Eater reports that a new Kinch space is on the horizon. This comes as great news: Kinch is one of the most respected chefs in the country, one whose food comes almost exclusively from Love Apple, a biodynamic farm in Santa Cruz manned by Cynthia Sandberg. Sandberg was, as San Jose’s Mercury News put it, “the restaurant’s agricultural muse,” and her relationship with Kinch was the subject of Whalen Films documentary The Farmer and the Chef, which debuted in March. 

We caught a screening of the film Wednesday night, and we were struck by Sandberg’s eloquence. Previously a lawyer, she opened Love Apple first as a small stand, and as her knowledge of plants developed, so did her acreage. ”The best day lawyering is not as good as the worst day farming,” she said in the movie. Even on the bad days, she said, “you’re still building and creating something; you’re not suing the pants off of somebody.”

The following Sandberg quote is inspiring for anyone, in any profession, so we thought we’d share it. Happy Friday. 

"Every season brings a new challenge—a new climate, a new weather pattern, a new bug, a new personality, a new apprentice, a new piece of landso I don’t think it will ever be finished. It’s just like a good chef is only as good as the last meal that he served. That’s why Michelin stars are so hard to acquire, because it’s not like you win a World Series and you’re always, from then on, a World Series champion. Michelin stars, you have to earn a new one every year. You cannot rest on your laurels. You can’t say, ‘Oh, in 2000 I got a Michelin star. ‘Well, what have you done for me lately?’ You’ve got to renew that every year; you’ve got to always perform. It’s similar to being a farmer: What’s ripe today? What’s ready today? What’s good for me today? It’s ephemeral. What I did 10 years ago or two weeks ago is no longer relevant. It’s what I can give…today or tomorrow.”

For screenings of The Farmer and the Chef, check here or contact the director.