Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Garden To Table Restaurants

With land a premium here on the Peninsula and the Salinas Valley at the back door, much of the produce in our local restaurants is purchased.

The Construction Of The Living Wall At The LALLAgrill

Many of those items come from smaller family farms that grow first and then go offer Chef's their pick of specialty items.

Pat Ottone at the LALLAgrill overcomes the limited space issue by growning his own herbs on a living wall.

Zapotec Pleated Tomato

Chef Luis Osario harvests fresh herbs for LALLAgrill and LALLApalooza right on the patio outside the door.

Jon Kaskey partner at Paradise Catering in Carmel Valley already has acres and gives the "Garden Update."

Yellow Ruffled

As of last call Jon and Nancy had just returned from a food tour in Italy. Currently they have 150 tomatoes in the ground with burried soaker hoses and organic compost from their catering. They have 150 more tomatoes in planters ready to go in the ground, and 200 more seedlings in growing boxes getting ready for transplant. Varieties include:
Yellow ruffled, a stuffer that has 2 to 3-inch fruit, deeply pleated like an accordion, with a hollow seed cavity perfect for stuffing. Pleasing, mild flavor.

Black Cherry

Pleated Zapotec a highly pleated pink fruit that is very unique. Good flavor and great presentation when sliced.

Black Cherry Plants produce a good quantity of purple/black cherry tomatoes that have a flavor that resembles Black Krim.

They are also growing peppers, cucumbers, and many of their fresh herbs.

This article in the SF Gate explores other Bay Area Garden to Kitchen restaurants.
This time of year, many Bay Area chefs have a split personality: They are behind the stove at night and nursing young plants in their garden during the day.

Jon Kaskey And Nancy Rohan of Paradise Cater Are Happy About Their Garden

The California style of cooking is ingredient-driven, which means that cooking starts in the garden. Take that a step further, and it's only natural chefs would want to cultivate their own.

Dozens of chefs have carved out plots either adjacent to their restaurants or nearby so they can control what comes in to the kitchen; many other chefs have special relationships with farmers who grow special crops for them.

It makes for some fresh, exciting eating. A little dirt on the fingers seasons the pot nicely.

Read the full story here.

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