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Willie Jane Brings the Cook's Garden to the Table in Venice Beach Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Monday, 11 November 2013 13:21

Willie JaneChef Govind Armstrong has found a way to bring a true garden-to-table quality to his Willie Jane Restaurant in Venice Beach through a partnership with Master Gardener Geri Miller, whose Cook's Garden is found right next door. "Geri's vision to create an expansive garden on a vacant urban lot next door to Willie Jane presented us with the opportunity to take the garden-to-table concept to a different level," said Armstrong. Not only is Miller's garden supplying Willie Jane with a number of ingredients for the restaurant but the two are working together on a series of fall classes -- through Miller's company, Home Grown Edible Landscapes, for both gardeners and cooks.

At Willie Jane, ingredients from the Cook's Garden (including both produce and eggs from the garden's coop) are used both for dishes such as a salad made using garden lettuces, sunchoke, roasted grapes, Point Reyes & pumpkin seed dressing (click here for recipe) but also in the cocktails created by Mixologist Derrick Bass. Willie Jane restaurant was kind enough to share recipes for both the Coal Miner's Daughter (click here), which adds fresh ginger, lemon juice, honey and lavender ("slapped" lavender, no less) to a bourbon base, and Chef Armstrong's salad recipe (click here). You can also find both under the recipes tab above. Enjoy!

 
Hawaii Food & Wine Festival Showcases the Work of Local Farmers Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Tuesday, 10 September 2013 09:57

Hawaii Food & Wine FestivalThe recently completed Hawaii Food & Wine Festival attracted a stellar array of chefs (75 in all, from Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Philippines and Australia) but, in a way, the real stars were the local providers of the produce, seafood, beef and poultry used in their dishes. At the two events I attended -- "Taste Our Love for the Land," held at the Hawaii Convention Center on September 7, and "Girls Got Game +1," held at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa on September 8 -- the work of local farmers was prominently displayed.

At Taste Our Love for the Land (above), each chef listed the local producers who contributed to their dishes. For instance, Taste's Mark "Gooch" Noguchi highlighted Ho Farms and Paepae o He'ela; Foodland's Keoni Chang showcased Hawaii Island Ranchers, Ka Lei Eggs and 'Nalo Farms; and Halekulani's Mark Freischmidt celebrated the work of Big Island Bees (good work, bees!).

Hawaii Food * Wine FestivalAt the Girls Got Game +1 event, which featured women chefs and farmers, the farmers were there in person to show off their wares. They included Kahuku Farms' Kylie Matsuda-Lum, a 4th generation farmer who has helped open the family farm up for tours and added a cafe; Wailea Agricultural Group's Lesley Hill who, with Michael Crowell, has restored former sugar cane lands on the Big Island to produce Hawaiian heart of palm, tropical fruits and spices (left); and Naked Cow Dairy Farm & Creamery, started by sisters Monique Van der Stroom and Sabrina St. Martin four years ago and the only Hawaii producers of butter and cows-milk cheese.

 
A New Farm Grows at Travaasa Austin Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Shepphird   
Tuesday, 16 April 2013 13:47

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/

 
Lovely Lumeria Maui Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Sunday, 17 February 2013 16:46

Lumeria MauiThe north shore of Maui is one of my favorite places in the world. Between the wacky beach town of Paia, the glorious organic farms of the Upcountry area and Haleakala herself, the area has a magical quality that's hard to match. What it doesn't have is a lot of places to stay for those who want a real Maui (vs. resort Maui) experience. There is the Paia Inn, located within walking distance of both local Baldwin beach and the restaurants in Paia -- including the wonderful Paia Fish Market and Flatbread Pizza, which lists the local farmers who provided that day's fare on the menu. And there are small B&Bs and home rentals available through Homeaway.com or VRBO.com. For a long time that was about it. But now there's an offering for those who want a location -- and much more -- between the beaches of Paia and the Upcountry town of Makawao: Lumeria Maui.

Lumeria MauiThe brainchild of founder Xorin Balbes, who saw potential in the historic buildings that originally housed retired plantation workers, Lumeria Maui has been beautifully restored and turned into a boutique inn and retreat center with 24 guest rooms, a yoga studio, a farm-to-table-focused dining room and -- naturally -- gorgeous gardens. Complimentary offerings for those staying at Lumeria Maui include an organic breakfast, daily meditation, yoga, classes that include a series of horticulture programs and weekly garden tours -- and, after March 15, a new pool. Special events and workshops -- including Lumeria's signature Glow Cleanse -- are also offered throughout the year. For more information, call 855-579-8877 or visit LumeriaMaui.com

 
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