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Welcome to Gardens to Tables
See it, Taste it: Chef's Garden at Barona Valley Print E-mail
Written by Michael Costa   

Chef de Cuisine Duncan FirthMany of the menus at Barona Resort & Casino start from the ground up —- literally. The resort, located in the East San Diego County city of Lakeside, relies on its on-site Chef’s Garden to supply produce to several of its restaurants. The garden also serves as the hub of Chef de Cuisine Duncan Firth’s (pictured left) environmentally layered approach to managing his kitchens. Firth says his entire staff takes pride in using what they grow on Barona’s menus, translating seasonality directly to the customers’ plates each day.

The Chef’s Garden at Barona grows more than 20 varieties of vegetables and herbs, and also doubles as a guest attraction, with tours and tips for aspiring gardeners staying at the resort.

Cucumber and Lavender Mojito Print E-mail
Written by RumFire at the Sheraton Waikiki   

Cucumber and Lavendar Mojito

Our version of this classic cocktail begins with the muddling of fresh lime juice, a few sprigs of fresh mint, cucumber and spritz of lavender. Top it off with ice, 2 ounces of Cruzan White Rum, and some club soda and you have one of the most refreshing libations anywhere.

Cucumber-and-Lavender Mojito 

  • 2 oz Cruzan Light Rum
  • 1 oz Fresh squeezed Lime Juice
  • 4 Sprigs of mint
  • 2 oz Club Soda
  • Lavender infused Rock candy syrup
  • Cucumber slices
The Dazzle of Butchart Gardens Print E-mail
Written by Melanie Waldman   

Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia is nothing short of dazzling. It’s the product of one wealthy woman's early 1900’s dream of turning her husband’s defunct cement pit into a floral glory.

Butchart GardensEach year more than 1,000,000 bedding plants in some 700 varieties are used throughout the Gardens to ensure uninterrupted blooms from March through October. To see what’s ending or blooming before you go, be sure to check Butchart’s Weekly Flower Report.

During our late May visit, rare yellow wisteria, brought here from China, dripped over rows of arbors by the entrance. Magenta peonies were just blooming, and the first blue delphiniums had started their spires. We found azaleas and rhododendrons of every imaginable color, even bright orange.

Some of their begonias are as big as a human hand. Himalayan poppies glow light blue and lavender in the light. And you shouldn’t miss the Japanese garden; it’s a triumph of composition.

Keeping Pests at Bay Through Diversity Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Called the "eco-oracle" by Wine Spectator magazine, "Amigo Bob" Cantisano (below) is a legend in the organic gardening field. I had the opportunity to learn a ton from him during a recent workshop on the Heart of Organic Gardening up at Esalen.

Amigo Bob Cantisano

Amigo Bob started with a factoid: There are 70,000 different species of insects in the world and less than 100 are pests in the garden. The rest are our allies. That's pretty cool, huh? We have 69,900 allies! Yea!

So the question becomes: how do we get these allies into our gardens? The answer is through diversity. The greater the diversity, the more stability a garden has. So if you're growing mostly vegetables, you will want to add flowers and herbs and allium (onions, garlic, etc.) as they attract the beneficial insects (those allies we talked about) like ladybugs, which are predators and eat the pests, and wasps, which are parasites and love to lay their eggs within the little buggers.

Kapalua Garden Salad and Citrus Vinaigrette Print E-mail
Written by Executive Sous Chef Marc McDowell   

Veggies from Ritz-Carlton, KapaluaCreated from vegetables and fruits grown in the kitchen gardens at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, this salad is simple but very flavorful -- as is the citrus vinaigrette that comes with it. Feel free to add Dijon mustard to take the dressing to another level.

Serves 2

1 Quart Baby Greens Mix
6 each Belgium endive spears
2 Tbl. Carrots, Julienne
2 Tbl. Red Bell pepper, Julienne
2 Tbl. Red Torpido onions, Julienne
6 each Pineapple, sliced paper thin on plate
6 each Yellow grape tomatoes, halved
1 Tbl. Jicama, julienne
1/2 orange Orange segments
10 each Lime basil Leaves, Torn
1/2 tsp. Lemongrass, Fine Chopped
1/2 each Kaffir Lime Leaf, Fine Chopped
3 Tbl. Tropical Citrus Dressing
To taste Salt and fresh ground Black Pepper
2 Tbl Optional: Wonton wrapper, julienne and fried
6 each Optional:  Sautéed Citrus Prawns


Slice 3 paper thin pieces of peeled pineapple and place in a circle on a plate. Place the Belgium Endive spears in the center pointing out and the 3 orange segments in between the endive. Toss the remaining ingredients except wontons in a bowl with enough dressing just to coat ingredients, check seasoning and place a small amount in center of plate. Garnish with prawns and fried wonton shreds. (Click "read more" for dressing recipe.)

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