A CHEF’S GARDEN: Oscar La Fuente

Categories: Live

Chef Oscar La Fuente is pleased. After four attempts to grow his own artichokes, he’s finally met with success. Globes of green spiked leaves have begun to push through the soil in his backyard garden, and he’s already thinking of uses for the new plants. 

“All I can say? It’s the soil.” 

This year, La Fuente has used Harvest Organics Raised Bed Mix products for the first time, and he’s impressed with the results. “This year, all my produce grew big, full, and lush — more so than any other year,” he said. “I focus on using the freshest ingredients and growing the best possible fruit and vegetables I can. By doing this, half the job is done, and you only need to enhance a solid product.”

La Fuente knows a thing or two about combining fresh flavors, then elevating them in his seasonal, sophisticated food. As the Executive Chef and Director of Operations at Queen City Catering, he takes a farm-to-table approach in everything he does. “I need to know where my food comes from and how it’s being grown. I’m particular about the products I use, the farmers I work with, and what I ultimately cook.”

It’s that commitment to the best, most wholesome ingredients that sets apart La Fuente’s cooking. It’s also the reason he seeks out soil with an ethos similar to his own. 

“Gardening for me is therapeutic. It brings me back to nature. So it was vital to me to find a soil that aligned with my own beliefs,” he said. Harvest Organics, made from organic yard waste and food scraps diverted from landfills, fit the bill. “I researched the Harvest Organics perspective on farm-to-table and organic gardening. After reading about how they process their soil by recycling organic waste, I wanted to try the product for myself.”

A gardener for most of his life, La Fuente says he had high expectations. “Harvest Organics did not disappoint! This season, my vegetables grew faster due to the nutrients within the soil. It was easy to see the connection.”

La Fuente is looking forward to continued growth and future inspiration with Harvest Organics. “I’m motivated by the seasons because each one pushes you to think outside the box. I want to think and play with familiar flavors, but present them in new ways.”

Even better, he can share his longtime love of fresh food with another of his loves, his daughter. “I love starting something from seeds and watching them grow, and I want to share that appreciation with her.” 

Nurturing begins from the ground up. Stay tuned for more of this blog series, where we’ll share La Fuente’s seared salmon recipe that uses Swiss chard straight from his garden.

Oscar La Fuente, Executive Chef & Director of Operations at QC Catering

Oscar planting organic swiss chard starters in Harvest Organics Raised Bed Mix

Oscar's backyard raised beds

Oscar prepping ingredients for his seared salmon dish

Chopped swiss chard and seared salmon in progess

Bon appetit!