Arizona on a Plate

Chef Chrysa Robertson Creates Spring Chopped Salad from Blue Sky Organic Farms

By / Photography By Debby Wolvos | May 15, 2018
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As photographer Debby Wolvos has traveled the state, she has had the privilege of meeting and getting to know the people behind our local food community—be they farmers, ranchers, bakers, artisan food producers or chefs. This photo series explores the relationships, inspirations and ingredients from these producers.

The seventh entry in this two-year photojournalism series features Chef Chrysa Robertson, owner/chef at Rancho Pinot in Scottsdale, and farmer David Vose of Blue Sky Organic Farms. Blue Sky Farms is a Certified Organic family farm located in Litchfield Park. Chef Chrysa’s featured dish is the Spring Chopped Salad, using fresh ingredients from the farm.

I was surprised to learn that although Chef Chrysa has been receiving organic produce from Blue Sky Organic Farms for 25 years, she had never visited the farm until our recent photo shoot! Chef and David walked the fields, along with David’s daughter Scout. We also visited the new farm store on property. We sampled beans and dill straight from the earth as we went along. The local organic strawberries were amazing too.

The chef, the farmer, and the farmer’s daughter

DEBBY WOLVOS: Chef, congratulations on the 25th anniversary of Rancho Pinot this year. It was pretty cool to see you and David walk the farm together.

CHEF CHRYSA ROBERTSON: We are so alike. Just doing our jobs. David is always out in the field, and I am always in the kitchen. No time for the BS! I admire his focus and dedication to excellence and consistency. We speak the same language. It’s really refreshing to be around him. I love the way he’s not interested in being polished. When you’re doing all the stuff you need to do, you’re not focused on your brand. You are the brand. For example, he was surprised that their farm stand store is doing so well, because he’s in it for the quality of the organic food from the land, and not thinking about just making a profit.

Its all about the soil

DW:Was it really 25 years ago that you began receiving Blue Sky produce?

CR: Yes! I was at the old Gentle Strength Co-op in Tempe (before there were farmers markets here!). I saw David’s produce and I had to have it. His arugula is amazing, as is anything he touches. You know by looking at his produce that they just picked it, it is super alive. I like to cook things that I enjoy eating myself. I like clean simple flavors, and his produce is totally the star.

Blue Sky farm store

DW: David, you two practically finish one another’s sentences. Talk about two farmer-chef peas in a pod!

DAVID VOSE: We are the real thing. We both built our businesses from scratch. We stay true to who we are. Chef Chrysa? The best. I need 100 more of her. We both value quality, and we will never compromise, or sell out. Thank God for the farmers markets.

Heading home

DW: Chef Chrysa, what is your inspiration for the chopped salad?

CR: I get so excited when all the green spring veggies show up at the farmers market, right alongside the Meyer lemons. I wanted to make a crunchy/lemony/salty salad and this is the result! It’s my personal favorite.

Our pop-up event for this article will be a three-course course dinner featuring Blue Sky Organic Farms produce at Rancho Pinot on Tuesday, May 22. Call Rancho Pinot (480-367-8030) to reserve and pay for your tickets. For info on future events, follow Edible Phoenix on Facebook , or sign up for our e-newsletter.

Debby Wolvos has had a lifelong love affair with the world of food, chefs and photography. Her passion is photographing food culture and traveling globally to explore and document authentic cuisines.

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