Ohio — Day 3: The Culinary Vegetable Institute

It turns out that “tow/haul” mode is the way to go — with it engaged the truck returned 11MPG, still execrable but at least in the double digits.  When towing in its default mode, the RAM 1500 engine surges between 1500 and 4500RPM. In “tow/haul” mode, however, it hovers between 2000 and 2500RPM and pulls much more steadily, smoothly and powerfully, which apparently benefits the gas mileage as well.

Towing a trailer through Cleveland, however, is something I would most definitely NOT recommend.  Unable to see clearly behind me, I struggled with the many merges and lane changes in the busy traffic, and am supremely grateful for whatever Providence had cleared the way for me; there were a couple of real white-knuckle moments, and one especially where I really appreciated the 5.7-liter Hemi engine, which allowed me to stomp the gas and dash out of trouble (well, as dashing as one can be with a two-ton trailer in tow).

Fortunately, however, I cleared Cleveland without incident (thank God!) and an hour later found myself at my first Ohio destination, the Chef’s Garden and Culinary Vegetable Institute in Huron.  Founded by Robin’s aunt and uncle (the Jones family), the Chef’s Garden is on the cutting, bleeding edge (in Uncle Bob’s words) of vegetable and soil science while providing top-quality (and often heirloom) vegetables for the upscale, white tablecloth restaurant market.  The CVI is the marketing arm of the Chef’s Garden and hosts top-tier, world famous chefs who come to study vegetable science and create new recipes in their world-class kitchen.


The Chef’s Garden is one of the only farms in the country combining cutting edge soil science with experiments in lighting, to boost the nutritional content and flavor of the vegetables they grow.  By measuring the gases and chemical compounds in the soil through mass spectrometry, the Jones’ can tailor the soil for maximum flavor and nutrition; on top of that, they are experimenting with electric lighting to recreate the spectrum and intensity of solar radiation at the precise location and time of year where a given vegetable grows best.  The ultimate goal?  Maximizing the nutritional content of vegetables to fight disease and boost immunity.  Cutting, bleeding edge for sure!

The CVI is where the Jones family hosts world-class chefs, who come to sample these superb vegetables and create recipes for their use in top restaurants across America.


Check out the industrial kitchen:


The CVI also hosts tastings and dinners wherein chefs present their recipes to the public, along with hosting wedding receptions and other civic and community events.


Because the coronavirus pandemic has decimated the restaurant industry, the Chef’s Garden has recently turned to individual sales, making these superb vegetables available now to everyone.  Those interested in perusing their offerings should check out www.chefs-garden.com.

The Jones’ have a keen appreciation for all the people in their lives whose support and expertise assisted them along their path.  This monument stands outside the CVI:


Staying at the CVI is very much like staying at a Harvest Host, except that there is no obligation to buy anything!

I so appreciate the generosity of the Jones family in allowing me to stay here and giving me the chance to re-connect with the Ohio branch of Robin’s family.  The plan is to stay here through next Tuesday and then travel to daughter LJ’s outside of Cincinnati on Wednesday.  I will update this blog when I arrive there.

4 thoughts on “Ohio — Day 3: The Culinary Vegetable Institute

  1. I am glad you discovered the tow/haul mode! And that you made it through Cleveland alive! The Culinary Vegetable Institute sounds incredible. I love the photo you use as the banner. Hope you have a fun time visiting with the Joneses and the rest of the fam.


  2. Wow, John, CVI is a very impressive place!  I’m so glad you made it through Cleveland all right!


  3. Glad you made it through Cleveland. That sounded scary. Please tell everyone in Ohio I send my love. – Kelly


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