Our Rooftop Garden: Sustainably Delicious Penthouse Produce
If you follow our blog or the news, you probably know that we’re getting ready to launch our own farming operation right here in Ashland, OR. We’re leasing land from the City and will be able to move in on October 1st. We’re counting the days!
We’re not waiting to start growing our own food, though. We’ve planted a rooftop garden to jump-start our in-house food sourcing, make the most of all of our brewpub’s space and tap into solar power in yet another way.
Though we’re already raising our own egg-producing free-range chickens, buying beef raised in Ashland and purchasing as many local and regional foods as we can get our hands on, we want to do more to get our ingredients closer to home. This maximizes flavor and minimizes environmental footprint – a double win.
Brandon Schilling, server and sustainability coordinator, has taken the lead to grow this effort, helping reduce food miles to mere feet.
Admittedly, it provides just a small part of what we use for our menu, but we believe in doing what we can. Any tiny step in the right direction takes us closer to a more sustainable world.
We started simple, with herbs like basil and mint. If you’ve noticed a new twist on favorites like our special mojitoes and select pizzas, that’s the taste of ultra-fresh, organic ingredients. We repurposed produce containers so they’ll keep delivering sustainable goodness.
As the weather’s become warmer and we’ve fine-tuned our skills, we’ve planted tomatoes, tomatilloes, cucumbers and strawberries. They’re happily thriving in repurposed 5-gallon buckets from ingredients and reused plant pots. We’re starting kale, beets, carrots and other greens for the fall and winter.
Our garden is fed with compost made from our restaurant kitchen scraps and spent grain from our brewery. As we work to localize food production, we’re also seeking to shrink the environmental impact of related inputs.
The next time you visit our restaurant, be sure to ask your server what foods and beverages feature our penthouse produce.
Till then, we hope you enjoy some recent photos and get inspired to start growing a bit of your own fresh food, no matter how much space you have.
To save money and maximize your positive environmental impact, reuse old containers for planters and look for things you can repurpose into plant supports. They’ll last for many seasons to come, keeping good materials our of landfills and saving the resources used to process the many reusable items that get recycled long before their useful life has ended.
Compost yard and kitchen scraps to amend your soil, too. Natural processes like this make expensive, prepared fertilizers, which often contain petroleum byproducts, unnecessary. Plant matter makes up much of what’s in our landfills, too. This wastes valuable materials we need to rebuild our world’s depleted soils and generates a lot of methane one of the most potent greenhouse gasses.
Now that’s really gardening with a green thumb, and the results are delicious for people and planet alike. Dig in!