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Welcome to Gardens to Tables
A New Farm Grows at Travaasa Austin Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Travaasa Austin farmLast summer, Linda Hayes visited Travaasa Austin and wrote a piece for GardenstoTables on "Farm to Table at Travaasa Austin" that highlighted the farm-to-table offerings Chef Benjamin Baker was creating with produce from local Austin farms. I recently had the good fortune to visit Travaasa Austin myself and am happy to report that, while they are still sourcing from local Austin farms, the resort has also added its own 3.25-acre farm (left) to its offerings. Run by Farm Manager Kim Grabosky, the farm is incorporating both organic and permaculture practices into growing the vegetables, fruits, herbs and edible flowers that will be used in the kitchen, in signature cocktails and in treatments at its Spa Travaasa.

Travaasa Austin eggsBecause Travaasa Austin wants to continue to support the local organic farm community, Kim said she is going to concentrate on growing vegetables, fruits and herbs that are harder to get locally and, to that end, has already been growing greens and herbs and tomato and pepper seedlings in a greenhouse operation through the winter months. Kim is also overseeing a variety of chickens who will be laying farm fresh eggs for the kitchen -- we were there when the first arrived (right) -- and is planning to bring a honey bee operation in next.

Travaasa Austin will soon be adding farm-related classes to its extensive schedule of "experiences" -- and is also using land near the farm for its equestrian offering, including trail rides and its well-regarded Equine Experience. For more information, visit http://travaasa.com/austin/

 
Coconut Fish Stew at Lumeria Maui's Harvest Cafe Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Lumeria dining areaIn my travel post on Lumeria Maui, I mentioned that one of the benefits of its location was the proximity to both the ocean and the Upcountry farms. It's perhaps not surprising then, that the focus at their Harvest Cafe is on locally grown, organic and free-range foods. The cafe's Chef Indica Chaves said that she "seeks to share the joy of supporting local organic farmers and enjoying a farm-to-table experience." To that end, Chef Chaves was kind enough to share the recipe (below) for a dish that reflects both those local farms and the bounty of the nearby ocean: coconut fish stew. Enjoy!

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Phuket's Paresa Resort Adds Hydroponic Garden Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Paresa PhuketThe Paresa Resort, located on Kamala Bay in Phuket, Thailand, has added its own eco-friendly hydroponic garden. The new garden, which already accounts for 30 percent of the herbs and greens that are used in the kitchen, was designed to grow products for both the kitchen and spa -- with extras grown and donated to the local community garden at the Kajonkiet International School Phuket.

Herbs and salad greens to be grown for the kitchen are decided on by Executive Chef Ryan Arboleda (right) and currently include Holy Basil, green and red lettuces, and lemon grass, which is used in the tea that greets arriving guests. Also grown are bananas, which are used in the morning smoothies.The resort also offers daily traditional Thai cooking classes using herbs from the hydroponic garden. At the Spa by Paresa, local Pandanus leaves are picked and burned to release their sweet-smelling scent, and fresh papaya, which has enzymes and vitamins that are good for the skin, is incorporated into treatments.

 
Fresco's Bruschetta Flavored by Hawaiian Farms Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Fresco BruschettaAs some of you no doubt already know, the word "bruschetta" really just means grilled bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. What you put on top of that is really up to you -- even though many people (especially in the U.S.) associate bruschetta with chopped tomatoes, garlic, onion and basil. At Fresco, the new Italian restaurant in the Rainbow Bazaar at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, Executive Chef Rodhel Ibay -- inspired by the name of the restaurant ("fresco" means "fresh" in Italian) -- decided to take the flavors of local farms to create his version of the dish.

"Going out to the farms brought to light how much the flavors of one simple fresh vegetable or spice can transform into a single dish," said Ibay. "When I first tried the tomato straight off the vine at Waimanalo Farm, that first bite is what motivated me to create my bruschetta."

In addition to the "traditional" tomato bruschetta, Ibay highlights other local produce with a macadamia-crusted avocado bruschetta and a roasted Big Island mushroom bruschetta -- and was kind enough to share his recipe here with us (below). Enjoy!

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Oahu's KCC Farmers Market Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

KCC Farmers MarketI've said it before and I'll say it again: One of the best ways to get to know a community when you're traveling is to visit its farmers market. That's especially true on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, where the KCC (Kapi'olani Community College) Farmers Market is the place to be on a Saturday morning (left) -- both for locals and for visitors staying in Waikiki (a 10-15 minute drive away). Offering local produce, flowers (including gorgeous orchids and hibiscus), honey, fish and prepared foods (including some from KCC's Culinary Arts Program), the KCC Farmers Market is one of five markets run on Oahu by the Hawaii Farm Bureau, which prepares a tip sheet each week to help navigate the more than 60 farm stands at the Saturday morning market. Staying in a hotel limits the buying possibilities -- for instance, based on our visit a few weeks ago, there were many gorgeous flowers being taken home by locals and the most popular stand was Big Island Abalone. But even for visitors, there are a lot of great options.

Waikiki from Diamond HeadThere are three coffee stands: Koko Crater Coffee Roasters, which has the premium spot right near the entrance, for those that are in major need of a caffeine fix (like we were), Keopu Coffee and Aikane Coffee. Other favorites included two local honey stands: Rhea's Hawaiian Honey (which offers samples and where we bought some amazing macadamia nut and organic cinnamon honey) and All Hawaiian Honey Coop (which has the best t-shirts and from whom we bought the Christmasberry Honey). We also loved the green juice from Otsuji Farms, made with kale, greens, beets, fresh pineapple, lemon juice and apple juice; the fresh island ginger drinks from PacifiKool; and the fresh roasted corn by Na 'Ono at the Kahuku Farms stand. Again, with 60-some stands, this is a major farmers market and not only a wonderful overview of the abundance of Hawaii's local offerings but a great way to spend a Saturday morning. Another plus is it's located right across from the entrance to Diamond Head State Park, for those who feel fueled up enough after the farmers market to make the trek up to the top of Diamond Head and take in the beautiful views (above).

 
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