As I sit here pondering how fast the summer season has come and gone, I think back on some of the amazing produce we have grown in our organic heirloom garden at The Beaumont Inn. The work that goes into the garden from early spring to early summer has been paying off ten-fold.
In the spring, we planted 72 different varieties of heirloom fruits and vegetables. We turned the compost into the beds and raked them out to loosen the soil so the seeds could be planted. Then, as the sprouts turn into plants, the real fun begins as we try to tame and train the plants on stakes and trellises. This is an almost daily task; to walk through the garden and gently move and tie the plants as to not stress them; to turn the growth and the maintenance into some well-orchestrated garden love.
Now with that chapter in the rear view mirror, we are in the heart of harvest season. Each week, we are able to create delicious features using sixteen varieties of tomatoes, dragon egg cucumbers, New Zealand spinach, lungo bianco zucchini, nasturtium, bachelor buttons, garlic chive blossoms, eggplants, and red cabbage just to name a few.
After the harvest, the real magic show happens: the transformation of raw ingredients to composed well-thought out dishes. After a quick walk through the garden in the morning it makes for some great excitement putting together a list of features for the evening. Coupled with some of the best products a chef could ever ask for coming from vendors like Foods In Season, O’Brian Seafood, Fossil Farms, Maines and Honolulu Fish Company, assures us that guests will be floating out of the restaurant on cloud nine.
Now as we move into the fall season, crops like Rouge Vif D’ Etampes pumpkins, marrow squash, waltham butternut squash, crapaudine beets, pusa asita black carrots, and pusa jamuni radish will begin to be harvested. The crisp air is welcoming after a busy summer season. As this year’s bumper crop comes to a close, we are able to reflect on how beneficial an on-premise garden is to both the chefs and the guests. Soon it will be time to plan next year’s bounty, and start a new chapter based on what we learned this year. So until them keep pushing the limits of what you think you’re capable of because you’ll never know unless you put the work in!
Article and photography by Chef Jeff Huntzinger