Fresh Link is excited to announce our new partnership with Virginia State University’s (VSU) Randolph Farm!
Randolph Farm is a 416 acre agricultural learning center, home to agricultural related research, demonstration and instruction activities. In addition to producing the region's traditional row crops, the farm is utilized for research and education in areas of new and niche crops, alternative cropping methods, horticultural crops, nutrient management, water quality, animal production and aquaculture production. The farm also hosts numerous annual events such as field days, workshops, farm conferences and professional training to share valuable information and promote the agricultural industry. Also important to note, 100 percent of the profits from Randolph Farm supports VSU’s scholarship program.
The goal of Randolph Farm’s specialty produce program is to diversify Virginia’s growing capabilities through research and test products. VSU’s Horticulture Extension Specialist Dr. Reza Rafie contacted Fresh Link for assistance in exposing test products to DC chefs. He also hopes to get feedback from area chefs about ways to improve Randolph Farm’s produce. Fresh Link is super excited to be offering these unique Virginia-grown products to our restaurants, including papaya, white guava, baby ginger, bitter melon, long beans, chocolate habaneros and more! All are grown in traditional hoop houses or hot houses specifically designed to protect the tropical fruits during colder months.
Sarah Frederick, Mollie, Sarah Ridgeway topping beets! Photo courtesy of Robert A. Martin/ The Free Lance-Star
Check out what Chef Todd Gray from Equinox said about Fresh Link in Cathy Jett's Free Lance-Star blog posting! We're pretty excited...
Fresh Link connects area farmers, Washington chefs
When chef Todd Gray needs a special variety of produce for his upscale Washington restaurant Equinox, he often turns to a company in Locust Dale called The Fresh Link.
Co-founder Mollie Visosky and her husband, John Paul Visosky, not only supply Equinox and about 50 other Washington restaurants with fresh picked produce from small farms in Culpeper, Orange and other parts of Virginia and North Carolina, they also do test plantings to strike a balance between what chefs want and what farmers can grow.
“She’s planted some tomatoes and squashes for us, then she shares with others,” said Gray, who began his career working at La Petite Auberge in Fredericksburg. “Sometimes we can’t take everything that she’s growing.”
Equinox was among the first restaurants that Mollie Visosky and her original business partner, Abby Harper, approached when they started The Fresh Link three years ago. The company talks with chefs to find out what they need, works with experienced growers to test crops and create supply, aggregates and then delivers just-picked produce to restaurants on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“They’re looking for local connections because the produce is fresher,” Mollie Visosky said. “Beans only retain their sugars for a few days. If they’re shipped from California or South America, the quality and flavor dissipate quickly.”
Gray said he places an order with the Fresh Link once or twice a week, and then he and his chefs discuss how they’ll use it. Right now he’s getting in sweet peas, kale, heirloom blueberries and blackberries and micro-salad greens.
“We typically use the berries as garnish,” Gray said. “We may put a compote of berries on cheesecake. Sometimes we’ll make a sauce out of blackberries for a little piece of local pork. It’s very, very nice.”