Come on in to the Ponte Garden!
We are continuing our efforts to go green in the Restaurant at Ponte. Chef Sal has partnered with Tim Connelly from Connelly Gardens for a consultation to create a garden to meet some of our culinary demands from the kitchen.
Earlier this summer, we plotted out a piece of land behind the kitchen and next to the Reserve Room. We fenced off a 30 by 25 foot plot using recycled vineyard stakes. Next, we ran irrigation lines through it to efficiently water the plants using a drip-system. Shortly after that, Tim brought in the tomato plants to be planted in the garden. He brought six varieties: Sun Gold, Juliet, Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, Big Beef, and Great White tomatoes. Our next step was digging the holes and putting them in the ground.
Here are the hard workers laying out the plants and digging holes to plant them in the ground.
By the end of the day, six rows of tomato plants were in the ground and watered. They will continue to grow and by the end of summer, we will have tomatoes looking as ripe and fresh as this one.
Drooling? Not to mention how amazing they will be in The Restaurant’s menu! The tomatoes will be used in the Panzanella Salad which also includes seared, rare herb crusted Ahi tuna, roasted summer squash, green beans, olives, herb croutons, cucumber and basil tossed in a vinaigrette. The Caprese salad will feature our tomatoes with mozzarella, basil, and a balsamic reduction and extra virgin olive oil. A photo won’t do these dishes justice, you’ll have to come in and dine with us to taste the freshness for yourself!
In the spirits of our Pinterest craze and inspired by Lauren M.’s DIY terrarium project, I wanted to add some creativity to the garden. Here’s another way to recycle corks in your garden by using them as variety markers. This was very simple to do: simply open and enjoy a few bottles of wine and save the corks. Use a permanent marker to label them appropriately. Then, insert a wooden skewer into the cork and into the ground – and you’ve spiced up the garden.
Like our vineyard practices, this garden is a smaller example of how we follow sustainable practices. Sustainable gardening is an effective way to improve soil quality, grow native species, and source locally. By growing the tomatoes ourselves, we reduce transportation, cut costs, and ensure they are grown in environmentally friendly ways, without fertilizer or genetically modified seeds.
Creating a garden is easy to do. You can start small, by creating an herb garden. These require very little space or maintenance and are a great way to get fresh herbs in your kitchen and cooking. Here are some tips on how to plant your own. Or, you could participate in a Community garden which is a shared garden. It’s easy to find one near you.
–Are you into gardening? If so, what do you grow?