“I believe good things will come out of this” Nicolas Mazard with Koppert Cress USA dba Flavour Fields®
How will life look like after COVID-19? “I believe this year will make it into the history books and we will talk about life pre-corona versus post-corona,” says Nicolas Mazard with Flavour Fields, based on Long Island, NY. In its greenhouses, the company grows microgreens that are being used in chefs’ creations. Although product is distributed nationwide, its east coast location and proximity to New York City result in most product making it into restaurants along the US east coast.
Americans never give up
When the situation around the coronavirus escalated, the restaurant business was game over in a matter of a few days. There was no time to think about a solution. Initially, people were shocked, but then took a deep breath. “In general, Americans respond very fast and re-invent themselves. I admire them for trying, taking a risk and never giving up,” said Mazard who was born and raised in France and moved to the US in 2006. “When we launched our business in 2007, the market crashed. However, good things came out of it.” One of the positive things I remember from the economic crisis of 2007 is that it changed the culinary scene in the US. “Because the US had a different culinary culture as we do in Europe, chefs weren’t stuck between boundaries. This gave them an opportunity to re-focus very rapidly, and it changed the way they cooked. In the restaurant world, we noticed a ‘before’ and ‘after’ crisis.”
Health will take center stage
“I strongly believe the current COVID-19 pandemic will result in more attention for healthy food. Health will take center stage,” shared Mazard. “First of all, people will be pushed to re-think what they are eating. It will also force chefs to become creative with healthy food. Prior to this crisis, superfood for instance seemed out of reach for most people, like a ‘special diet’. Once restaurants will start opening again after the crisis, the general public will have a better understanding of health and chefs will have an amazing opportunity to bring health into their menu while not changing the quality and creation of what they would be serving. This pandemic will put health at the center, and I believe some of it will stay. We will appreciate the value of things we were taking for granted. Now that our freedom is limited, we will even more appreciate meeting with family and friends again. We will highly value going out for dinner and having a healthy meal in good company.”
Chefs have the ability to bring healthy food to the table and make food items trendy. Mazard is hopeful chefs will increasingly support local farms and local communities once restaurants open again. “When I look at neighboring city New York, the restaurant scene doesn’t utilize the farms it has at its disposal as much. As a matter of fact, people are usually surprised to see farms on the East of Long Island. If the local community supports restaurants, the restaurants should support the local community by buying local, then everything will make a full circle. I’m hopeful for a change in attitude and a different approach towards the food that is being served. Let’s also not forget the distributors who play a key role in that supply chain, too.”
Microgreens are a powerhouse of superfoods
In the past few weeks, Mazard has lost some business. However, he tries to look at the big picture and stay positive. “Our greenhouses here on Long Island are a powerhouse of superfoods and I am hopeful and confident that demand for these superfoods will be up after the COVID-19 crisis is behind us.” For now, the company has created a Micro Superfood Mix of four microgreens in a clamshell to give away to people in the foodservice industry. “We want to help people who work so hard to keep the supply chain going,” Mazard said. This specific Mix is donated to floormen/women, drivers and office staff, but local hospitals are also very thankful for the Mico Superfood Mix. The clamshells include Micro Broccoli, Micro Pak Choi, micro arugula and Micro Sakura Radish.