AN URBAN CHEF’S GARDEN AT THE PROVIDENCE MARRIOTT DOWNTOWN
After a long drawn out winter, when spring finally shows its gentle smiling face, our minds tend to turn toward beach walks and BBQs. We long for the days of farmer’s markets filled with bright berries and summer vegetables. We don’t waste a minute lamenting the end of the dark and dreary winter. Instead, we revel in the fact that it’s time to roll up our selves and start thinking about what grew well in our Urban Chef’s Garden and events that allow us to showcase this successful bounty. Close your eyes and think about your favorite summer cocktail. How about a freshly made margherita pizza with fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden. Or maybe it’s homemade pickles you crave. What comes to your mind? Earthy, crispy, spicy and fresh immediately come to ours. Here are some of our most successful bounties from the Providence Marriott Downtown’s Urban Chef’s Garden for food and cocktails that showcase the best of the summer season in our little plot of land in Providence, RI.
Tomatoes = Over 100 lbs used in our day to day activities and specials. In late September, we still had about another 40 or so lbs on the plants so our season lasts a long time.
Cucumbers = We harvested 60 lbs last summer using them on salads and pickling them for use with charcuterie boards in both banquets and the restaurants.
Acorn Squash = Not a big producer but the quality of the squash is phenomenal. Give or take 40 lbs (which isn’t a lot when it comes to heavy acorn squash.
Kalette = This was a great producer for us. We harvested the outer leaves and used them on chef tables, specials, and in the restaurants. Kalette was still producing strong in late Septmeber.
Swiss chard = another one of those great producer’s. It was continuously harvested and just kept growing. We made everything from stuffed chard leaves to sautéing, to braising and pickling the stems.
Sriracha peppers = 60 lbs of these plants just kept producing a mildly hot (jalapeno like) pepper with great flavor. We used them in our sweet pepper jam for our chicken sliders all throughout the summer. They were still flowering and continuing to produce until first frost.
Leeks = Planted in 2017 to winter over. Plan to harvest soon.
Herb Garden = this was the real star of the garden with Basil, Thai Basil, Mint, Oregano, Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley. We supplemented our herb purchasing tremendously throughout the summer utilizing all the herbs on the line, in banquets, for chef tables, and drinks at the bar. We always had fresh mint for mojitos, thyme and rosemary simple syrups, and basil for other drinks. We also
featured our garden basil on our margherita pizzas in the restaurants. Fresh from the garden chives & sage were used at our Thanksgiving buffet.
2018 Garden Plans
We will looking at our top performers and see what we can do better along with trying some cherry tomatoes and early season pea/beans. We would also like to look into producing our own microgreens and maybe even a vertical growing wall for lettuces and placing some edible flowers around the hotel or in pots under lights inside that we could use for garnish as well as make a beautiful setting for our guests. Lastly, planting things like rhubarb or asparagus around the outside of the hotel for multiyear production. The Chef’s Table events, the Bluefin Grille menu and AQUA’s menu as well as banquet events will showcase seasonal items from our garden.