July in the Culinary Garden
Remember the greenhouse image from the June blog post? Well, just look at how the garden has grown! From June to July is one of the biggest growth spurts in the Culinary Garden. Many of the plants have doubled in size and beds are looking full! July is the month of Hydrangeas blooming, Nasturtiums spilling from the raised beds, and summer veggies beginning to flood the Castle Hill Inn kitchens.
In the Culinary Garden carrots are now ready for harvest, and bush beans have started to replace the peas. The edible flower options are far more varied and colorful, as the marigolds and begonias are in full swing, and the blue “bachelor buttons” and Borage have begun to bloom. Twice a week the chefs are now receiving multiple totes, quarts, and gallon-size containers of fresh and colorful produce.
Each year we have experimented with new varieties of produce to showcase. This year one of our newbies is the tomatillo. Tomatillos are native to Mexico and are a traditional ingredient in salsa verde, a zesty green salsa that is set apart by the tomatillo’s unique color and flavor. Tomatillos grow with lantern-like husks encompassing the fruit. You know when the fruit is ready when the husk dries and the fruit bursts the lantern. Each plant is covered in numerous fruits and the Chefs at Castle Hill use them in the Barbacoa Tacos, served at The Lawn.
The next big thing that will be gracing the garden is the Local Food Fest on August 13th, put together by Farm Fresh RI, and hosted here at Castle Hill Inn. The event itself will be located at The Chalet, up the hill from the Culinary Garden, but I know we will have plenty of curious visitors popping over to have a look at all the food we are growing on site. This annual event is always a highlight of my summer as I get to see fellow farmers and gardeners and chefs who appreciate fresh local food as much as I do!
We often get guests at the garden who express interest in what we are doing/growing/creating and one of my favorite visitors so far this summer was a young man named Jordan, who at five years old proclaims confidently that he is going to be a horticulturist when he grows up. I had a lot of fun showing him around the garden, and I think his favorite part was the “carrot jungle” where he got to pull his own carrot to bring home to dad. What an inspiration! I loved sharing in his enthusiasm for plants and I think I need to get one of those farm-food theme shirts like he has 😉
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