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New eatery focuses on flavorful, healthy foods

Making the switch from deep-fried to leafy greens wasn’t a difficult choice for Anna Huff, but it’s not to say she doesn’t know temptation. Fried foods slathered in mayo were not an uncommon or unwelcome sight at many a family gathering throughout her childhood.  

“It’s all about moderation,” she insists.

With moderation in mind, Ms. Huff helms Claremont’s newest eatery, Salad Farm, which blends organic goodness with robust flavor in heaping but healthy portions.

It’s not about skimping on all the good stuff, she asserts. At her new establishment, Ms. Huff encourages incorporating all the trimmings—bacon, avocado and her personal favorite, barbecue sauce—while fitting in the “good stuff,” a wide selection of farm-fresh fruits and organically-grown vegetables. Ms. Huff knew Salad Farm, a choice conscious franchise that prides itself on quality, would be at home in Claremont, a city known for its globally-minded citizenry.

“I knew people in Claremont would appreciate what we had to offer,” said Ms. Huff, who began buying organic for her own family about 10 years ago.

The move away from fried foods was an easy transition for Ms. Huff, a woman with an outdoor inclination and a steadfast love for the grill. She seizes any opportunity to marry a homemade marinade with chicken and vegetables.

“Even when our kitchen was being remodeled, she wouldn’t go out and buy fast food,” her daughter Yesenia Huff recalled. “She was always in the backyard coming up with something new to make.”

It’s earned her quite the reputation as her relatives’ go-to chef, always ready with the makings for a delicious roast or other seasoned specialty at parties and family gatherings. And her passion ignited an excitement in her children over the possibilities of creating in the kitchen. Her daughter, Yesenia Huff, is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena and is thrilled to be partnering with her mother for their first culinary venture.

“I work 16-hour shifts, but it feels like barely 8,” she maintains.

Ms. Huff encouraged her children at an early age to engage in a healthy lifestyle to prevent illnesses that plagued many of her own siblings because of their bad eating habits.

As a widowed mother of 4, Ms. Huff admits seeing her children adopt those creative and healthy culinary choices are what bring her the most joy.

“Wherever I go, people are amazed to see my kids eating Brussels sprouts or asparagus,” Ms. Huff said. “Instead of asking for French fries they always asked for protein.”

She hopes to help others instill the same healthy impulses in their dining choices by offering choices that highlight the decadent side of diet and nutrition. Cool, crisp dishes like the California salad,—crunchy romaine brimming with seasonal fruit, baked rice noodles, sweet raisins, roasted walnuts, fresh avocado and tangy honey mustard dressing leave customers full, yet satisfied.

The options don’t stop at salads. There are baked potatoes filled with melted cheese, steamed broccoli and other veggies or chicken and oven-baked Paninis like the Turkey Avocado made with smoked turkey, pesto mayo and creamy Swiss cheese.

Ms. Huff offers her personal favorite, which is not surprisingly the barbecue chicken salad.

“I just love barbecue sauce,” she laughed. “It goes well with everything.”

While familiar with the way of the barbecue, she looks forward to delving into the uncharted territory of restaurant ownership. Turning hobby into career was a welcome change after years of working as a tax preparer and bookkeeper for couples going through divorce.

“I got tired of the sadness that surrounded my previous work,” Ms. Huff said. “I love to see the happy faces on people when they have a nice salad they enjoy. It brings with it a warm feeling.”

After 20 months of going through paperwork and working with corporate to get the restaurant up and running, she is basking in the opportunity to finally see her labor of love at work.

“A couple days ago I took a moment and sat down and looked at everything and just thought wow, it’s all finally a reality,” Ms. Huff said. “This is my American dream come true.”

Salad Farm is located at 373 Bonita Ave. For more information, call 621-1770 or visit www.saladfarmrestaurants.com.

—Beth Hartnett

news@claremont-courier.com

 

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