Growing more than 250 certified-organic wildflowers, herbs, and greens (including many hard-to-find varieties), Eva Sommaripa, of Eva’s Garden, in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, is a legend among chefs and home cooks, too. (You can buy Eva’s herbs and edible flowers at some Whole Foods Markets). And Sommaripa, whom some have called a farming superhero for the outstanding flavor of her produce, grows it all—from bull’s blood beets and purslane to spruce shoots, chickweed, and plain old arugula and basil—on only three acres of land. She sells the produce to restaurants and gourmet food shops up and down the coast, from New York to Portland, Maine.
Trained as a potter, Sommaripa was a weekend farmer who turned to growing herbs full time in the 1970s. “There was such a shortage of fresh herbs for people who cared about them,” she says. Chef-author Didi Emmons, formerly of Cambridge restaurant Veggie Planet, cared about them so much, and was so impressed with Sommaripa’s produce, that she wrote a 2011 book about it: Wild Flavors: One Chef's Transformative Year Cooking from Eva's Farm 2011.