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Flower Farm Cafe has new chef

By: Kathy Maynard, Loomis News Correspondent
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The Flower Farm Café has a new manager who will help create a menu built around fresh, locally grown products.
Owners Annie and John Bowler announced last week that Joe O’Connor III is now serving as executive chef for the Flower Farm Café.  
“I am excited to be a part of the Flower Farm family. I’m looking forward to enhancing the café menu and creating wonderful foods that are fresh, local and fun,” O’Connor said.
Annie Bowler said O’Connor graduated top in his class from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Art Institute and has years of experience in the culinary field including managing a country club and a French bistro.
She said, “Joe strives to give each guest a wonderful dining experience.  He believes in creating delicious food that
utilizes fresh and local products, making him the perfect match for the Flower Farm Cafe.”  
Local chef Randy Ubry, of Randy’s Creative Catering, helped during the transition. Ubry has been the café’s most popular caterer for weddings and other special events held in the Inn and the Barn, according to John Bowler.  
After purchasing the historic Flower Farm in 2004, the Bowlers expanded the existing bed and breakfast and nursery by renovating the farmhouse, adding guest cottages and converting the barn into an events facility. While they were running the inn and barn and managing the property, tenants developed and ran the café and nursery as separate businesses.  
Now, the Bowler family has taken over proprietorship of the café to help achieve their vision of creating a welcoming Flower Farm, said Annie Bowler. They plan to serve interesting, tasty food for a reasonable price and she will also use her interior design skills to bring the warm, cozy ambiance of the inn to the café.
 “John and I put ourselves through college working in restaurants, though we’ve never run one by ourselves, which is why we appreciated Randy’s input so much. He has already organized the kitchen beautifully. We’re delighted,” said Annie Bowler.
 “We hope to promote local agriculture and support it through the use of product in our cafe. For example, today we make three kinds of muffins – pumpkin, persimmon and mandarin – which were all were grown here on our own land. We also sell mandarins and will start serving a mandarin salad soon. In fact, I’m making it tonight for dinner,” she said.
The Bowler family also looks forward to working with Kevin and Ann Stevenson, of Casque Winery, and their recently opened tasting room that was constructed at the Flower Farm.
“We plan to plant an acre of malvec, a French wine grape, as specified by Kevin. He’ll be helping us select the grape vines and if the grapes do well, we’ll do subsequent plantings in future years,” said John Bowler.
Patti Foust, who helped start the café and nursery, will continue to run the Flower Farm Nursery.
The Bowlers said they expect the Flower Farm to continue to expand and flourish with the addition of the Casque Winery tasting room and the new menu.
“We’ll be able to do more events at the winery, with the café and winery working together to do parties,”  said