Expanding the Culinary Garden!
The Culinary Garden at Castle Hill Inn is growing! This year we are going from six raised beds to eleven, and the greenhouse has doubled in size. This expansion is very exciting to me, and I know my enthusiasm is shared by the culinary team, who will now have even more fresh produce grown on site to incorporate in their menus.
The Castle Hill Culinary Garden has over thirty varieties of vegetables growing, all of which is used by the Inn’s chefs. The culinary team does a great job ensuring that none of what we grow goes to waste, and this is one of my favorite aspects of our program. From the purple mustard greens to the rainbow chard, I know that whatever we harvest each week will be put to good use and enjoyed by our visitors and guests.
In the early part of the season I met with Executive Chef Lou Rossi to go over this year’s menus and discuss what we will be growing in the garden. Chef Lou has been a major supporter of the Culinary Garden since day one and it is a joy to work beside him. This year we have several special dishes planned with the Culinary Garden in mind. Among my favorites is the Garden Kale Salad in The Dining Room, which features our kale mix, local RI fingerling potatoes, Atwell’s Gold cheese from Narragansett Creamery, and a garnish of pickled red pearl onions, Garden parsley, Garden purple mustard greens and Garden lemon thyme flowers. Yum!
Seeding, planning, transplanting, planting, weeding and harvesting all take up a bit of time, but we have made room in our schedules for weekly garden tours for those of you interested in seeing the garden up close and learning more about what we do. Kaitlin Brughelli, my garden assistant and the Inn’s Naturalist, gives guided tours of the garden and Castle Hill’s forty acres at 3:30pm Thursday, and 11:30am and 3:30pm on Saturday & Sunday. Guests are also invited to request a Culinary Garden Tour during their stay Mon-Friday; simply inquire at the front desk.
It is my absolute pleasure to be growing organic food using sustainable practices in a location as beautiful and prestigious as Castle Hill. Our produce travels “meters not miles”- as my catch phrase goes – and that is something special indeed. We are very proud to be one of the few restaurants in Rhode Island that grows its own produce, and the only restaurant in Newport growing food on site.
As part of our garden expansion we have included a space among the beds for special events where small groups can dine among the plants their food has come from. The space is still under construction, so we’ll have to include more about that development in another post!
Be sure to have a look at our beautiful Culinary Garden when you visit Castle Hill and keep an eye out for daily specials featuring garden ingredients.
– Leita Lord, Horticulturist