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 December 18, 2014
'Top Chef' to headline Yuma, Arizona Lettuce Days - February 28 & March 1

 Chef Hosea Rosenberg of Boulder, Colo., will be the headline chef for the next Yuma Lettuce Days, set for Feb. 28 & March 1 (2015) at the University of Arizona's Yuma Agriculture Center, a working research farm just west of historic downtown. An annual culinary celebration of Yuma's role as the nation's winter vegetable capital, Lettuce Days won a Governor's Tourism Award as one of the state's best events.

Rosenberg, the winner of Bravo's "Top Chef" competition in season five, just last month opened his new Blackbelly Market in Boulder, a venture that combines a new farm-focused restaurant and bar with his fine thriving catering business, and introduces a butcher shop, salumeria, deli counter and market selling house-made goodies to take home, all showcasing fresh ingredients

That makes him a "natural" for Yuma, which during the winter months supplies more than 90 percent of North America's leafy greens and vegetables.

"I am thrilled to be cooking at Yuma Lettuce Days," Rosenberg said. "It is extremely important to me as a chef to know where my food comes from. It is a way to connect not only to my customers, but to my suppliers as well."

"It will be a treat to be surrounded by such a vital agricultural area and a place that feeds so many of our citizens," he added. Yuma County ranks third in the nation for vegetable production, and its annual agricultural output of more than $3.2 billion accounts for more than a third of total agricultural production for the state of Arizona.

Originally from Taos, N.M., Rosenberg realized he wanted to become a chef while studying to be an astronomer. After graduating from the University of Colorado with a B.S. in engineering physics, he worked his way up through a variety of professional kitchens, landing his first chef position in 2001. In addition to his Top Chef accolades, he's been named Best Chef of the Denver International Wine Festival, guest chef at the James Beard House, and seven-time winner of the Flatiron Chef Competition.

At Lettuce Days, Rosenberg will do two live cooking demonstrations each day - with some lucky audience members getting a chance to taste what he whips up on stage.

Other activities planned for Yuma's homegrown celebration include other live cooking demonstrations and contests, a ginormous salad bar and a tasting event that showcases specialties from local restaurants, plus beer and wine. There will also be plenty of ag-related vendors, live entertainment, a beer garden, and a special Kids Ag-tivities area, along with a petting zoo with baby farm animals.

New features planned for 2015 include demonstrations of high-tech farming equipment like GPS-guided tractors used for laser leveling and aerial drones, a "show and tell" about a U.A. trial of nearly 100 varieties of spinach, and live demonstrations of lettuce thinning and harvesting.

Put Arizona's freshest destination food event on your calendar now! Sure as Yuma sunshine, there will be full menu of fun, along with plenty of produce, citrus, melons and dates. Plans are still germinating, check for added ingredients at