The Modern Farmers — My Epicurean Farm, Slidell, Texas

Owner Yseut Berlingeri (right) and farm manager Betty Beard (left). (Photo by Jessica Crabtree)

By Jessica Crabtree 

Five years ago Yseut Berlingeri and Betty Beard’s surroundings looked like that of a professional’s kitchen as both were former chefs. Yseut attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York and Betty attended Le Cordon Bleu in Dallas. Sharing a kitchen while working and opening together the Flower Mound Market Street location, the two blended, forming a friendship both in the kitchen and outside. “She [Betty] was like me, OCD and ran a very organized kitchen. We clicked right away,” Yseut shared. Jokingly, the two always conspired about owning their “own thing” one day. While Betty is a native Texan, born in Longview, Yseut was born and raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico, leaving for the United States at the age of 17.

With 22 years experience in AAA and 5-Diamond eating establishments, in 2014 Yseut grew tired, ready to walk away from the kitchen. Moving to Washington, D.C., to be with her husband Michael as he traveled for work, the former chef busied herself with consultant work for another chef. Wanting a business of some sort, Yseut gained knowledge on the retail side of things. That same year a cousin came calling, needing help with her hobby in Florida, an aquaponic farm that she started for educational purposes and to sell to chefs.

What came of it? Yseut fell in love and trained under her cousin for eight months, learning all aspects of what aquaponics is and from that experience drew up a business plan. “I knew I wanted to be a farmer. I loved it. I wrote my business plan and the next thing was a location,” Yseut said. Establishing a few principles up front, Yseut knew she did not want to grow lettuce, specifically only grow micro, petite and baby greens. The final must, Yseut knew exactly who she wanted to be her farm manager: her former kitchen assistant Betty.

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(Photos by Jessica Crabtree)