Called Row 7 Seeds, the company hinges on the idea that the ingredients can be made to taste better “even before they hit the plate.”
That means cross-pollinating seeds to create potatoes which, the company claims, are so creamy and nutty they don’t need butter, and hot peppers that have the floral sweetness of the habanero, minus the burn.
The project is a natural progression for Barber, who is a vocal advocate for sustainable agriculture, espouses farm-to-table dining, and runs a farm just outside Manhattan for his restaurants Blue Hill in Manhattan and Pocantico Hills.
He authored a book on the subject, “The Third Plate,” and was appointed by former President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.
The launch of the gourmet seed company is also part of a larger vision that takes aim at industrialized agriculture and creates super-flavored produce for the dining table.
For its launch, the company has released seven varieties of seeds, all of which are certified organic, non-GMO and produced in the US.
They include the aforementioned Habanada Pepper, that strips the pepper of its tongue-numbing heat, and the Upstate Abundance Potato, created to be so creamy, it doesn’t need any butter.
Likewise, the 898 Squash concentrates sweetness, flavor and beta-carotene goodness into a palm-sized vegetable – no maple syrup necessary.
“And, it turns out, when you select for flavour, you’re most likely selecting for nutrition, too. Flavour and aroma compounds – the same ones that make tomatoes so mouthwatering – often derive from essential nutrients. It’s nature’s way of telling us what we should be eating,” reads an excerpt from the website.
Seeds are sold online for chefs, breeders, farmers and at-home gardeners in the US and Canada.