John and Ann Griffin, owners and operators of Flat Broke Farms, were honored to play a crucial role in the Fire in the Triangle competition. Held on July 24, Raleigh’s version of Iron Chef used the Griffins’ organic heirloom tomatoes as the secret ingredient.
This was the Griffins’ first year providing their tomatoes in the competition. “We were contacted by Pate Dawson at Southern Foods about using our tomatoes,” said Ann. “Honestly, we don’t know how they got our names.” Regardless of how the Griffins’ came to be involved, they claim to be honored by the experience.
The winner, John Childers, competed against 15 other local chefs for the top prize. Childers works at the restaurant Herons in Cary. The Griffins explain that “each chef prepared three dishes: appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Being the secret ingredient, the tomatoes were used in each dish. The experience was awesome.”
A fourth generation farmer, John Griffin transformed Flat Broke Farms into a vegetable farm eight years ago. The farm initially began as a tobacco farm and became a cattle ranch in the ’70s.
Aside from organic heirloom tomatoes, the Griffins grow everything from sweet corn to watermelons. Their produce can be found at Whole Foods in Cary, Little Hen Restaurant in Holly Springs, or in produce boxes at the farm.
Located in Duncan, Flat Broke Farm specializes in organic produce. Greenhouses were installed in 2009 to promote high quality plants. According to their detailed website, www.flatbrokefarms.com, “No genetically altered seeds are grown and no pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides are used on any of the plants.”
Although John and Ann run the farm as a family, they also work part-time elsewhere. John is a site manager and Ann is a chef at Camp Agape Kure Beach Ministries.