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Farmers Market:

Jeff Barnouw | Amphitheatre Drive

Jesse Aghravi setting up.
Photo Jeff Barnouw

A new face among the vendors at the Farmers Market is Jesse Aghravi. He comes from New York City, so living in Del Mar he misses the crowds and bustle. He calls his business Lum from lumen or luminous which for him suggests the fire of his propane gas oven, in which he roasts vegetables bought only at Chino Farms, mostly nightshade plants such as peppers, squash, eggplant, tomato, parsnip, pumpkin, beet, sweet potato. He buys them the day before the market and roasts them in a prep-kitchen at Lucky Bolt in Sorrento Valley sharing space with like-minded owner Chris Schlesser. The roasting at the Market reheats them, and they are served with condiments and olive oil, and lovely bread.

At first he also used his oven at the Market to bake his own bread, created from alkaline water and organic malted flour which he gets from Utah’s Central Milling Company. The dough is left to ferment for two days. It proved too difficult to bake the bread AND roast the vegetables, so he now makes the bread the day before. I was happy to get a complementary (full disclosure) sample roasted vegetable plate, which was delicious, particularly together with the bread. So far customers are equally divided between take-away (home) and eat-on-site.

Jesse became interested in cooking while he was a student in Denver some 20 years ago. He then realized that to make a career of gastronomy he had to start back at the Big Apple. (He throws in some apple with his vegetables.) His breakthrough came with a stint five years ago as chef de cuisine under Saul Bolton at Saul’s in Brooklyn, which had gained a Michelin star. He now also has a booth at the Leucadia Farmers Market on Sundays and is starting a pop-up pairing with Ironsmith Coffee Shop in Encinitas, which he hopes will become regular.
His menu offerings also include things like black bean dip and Fall salad.

verything is done with “premium sourced” produce and with culinary skill and care. Let’s hope we can produce some crowds and bustle at the Farmers Market to make him feel at home here or at least not homesick. He is happily settling in, in fact, with his wife who sometimes helps with their stall. Their baby boy is a year old.



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