ORIGINAL FARMING: THE ROOFTOP GARDEN PLAZA Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Unless one can read tea leaves, palms, crystal balls or Tarot cards—of if, in fact, one is a data-driven futurist—it can be often very difficult to predict what lies even a few months ahead from the most present point in time.
But we have seen the future (sort of), because we are making and shaping it with our own hands.
Last month, Executive Chef Ryan Bleibtrey (pictured, and squinty) got a little dirt under his nails as he carved away soil to make holes in the dirt into which potted a variety of plants, high above the streets, on our well-lit rooftop garden plaza.
So now, we’ve got strawberries and blueberries, which we can use for cocktail and dessert specials. We’ve got lavender and lemongrass for even more cocktail specials and punch recipes.
We’ve got four bay leaf trees, which…well, we season just about every savory sauce with a bay leaf or two. We’ve got basil plants, too, which Ryan says are exploding in growth (including the purple and Genovese varieties).
We’ve got mint (spear and apple), oregano and a colorful variety of nasturtiums, those edible flowers with a slightly peppery taste, which we’ll use to season all kinds of specials and salads.
The good news? It doesn’t get more locally sourced than planting a garden upon your roof in the middle of the city.
The bad news. A lot of these plants won’t be ready to be harvested until 2012.
But there is a “best” news, by which we mean that all of the herbs and berries and flowers that we’re planting now will survive this winter and every winter thereafter, and will grow again, each year, taller, stronger and more bountiful than the year before.
The future may be a little under a year away (isn’t it always like that?), but we have seen it, and it is green and it tastes fresh.