Patrick Farjas Profile

An Ode to Grapes With Seeds

October 1997 — Patrick Farjas makes a weekly pilgrimage to a farmers market, rotating among three in Fremont and Saratoga Village. On one of his recent visits, he was astounded by the price of beans. “The other day they had beans for $1 and they were little French beans and I was just shocked,” says Farjas, a native of France who has cooked in Northern California for 16 years, currently at The Plumed Horse in Saratoga. “I had beautiful beans at the restaurant and I found out that I could get them cheaper over there.”



The Plumed Horse
14555 Big Basin Way
Saratoga, Calif. 95070



‘I think people are getting spoiled’ by seedless varieties.’


Fruits and vegetables are riper in the farmers markets, he adds. And shoppers at farmers markets can find produce that hasn’t been sprayed.

“There’s a big difference in the quality when it’s truly organic,” Farjas insists. “Sometimes you get a bad crop because there is no spray so the plants get attacked by some kind of an insect. But at least when you get something nice, it’s beautiful.”

Mention farmers markets in the fall to Farjas and his first thought is of grapes and golden apples. He doesn’t favor any particular variety of grape, except that he likes grapes “when the skin is thin and when they are very sweet.” And one other thing. For some purposes, he insists on grapes with something that most new varieties don’t have — seeds.

Grapes with seeds will never disappear, he hopes, because “they have a completely different taste.”

Farjas explains, “I have an old recipe with filet of sole. I peel the grapes and take the seeds out. You cannot use a seedless grape because it would not give the same taste.”

As for the inconvenience, he has this to say. “I come from France, from the Burgundy area, and there are always seeds in the grapes. Whether it’s white or red, there’s always going to be a seed inside. So for me it’s not such a big problem.”

The fact that seedless varieties are taking markets by storm tells Farjas that “people are too lazy. They don’t want to spit out the seed or they don’t want to take it out.” He concludes, “I think people are getting spoiled.”

–Mark Thompson