Gardens to Tables

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Welcome to Gardens to Tables

Bring Your Garden to the Table

From tiny patio herb gardens to larger community plots, this site is part of a movement, a movement back to growing and making our own fresh, delicious, healthy food. Our mission is to share gardening tips and recipes with others who share our passion for sustainable agriculture, even in the smallest urban settings.

We also feature travel ideas, classes, workshops and other great ways to learn about gardening and cooking from the experts, and publicize ways to support organic farms and farmers markets, and the restaurants and hotels that use local produce.

If there's anything you'd like to see or ideas you'd like to submit -- or just comments you'd like to make -- please send them to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Also feel free to check out our Facebook page, which features links to events and stories of interest to gardeners and cooks, in addition to those posted here.

 
Spring Cocktails Bloom in Downtown L.A. Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Shepphird   
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 12:28

Klaus Puck at Ritz-Carlton cocktail garden

The Ritz-Carlton and J.W. Marriott at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles are launching their spring cocktail program today. Included on the roster are the "Spice of Spring" at gLAnce; "Orange You Glad It's Spring" at the Mixing Room; and Nest at WP24's "Flower to Flute," featuring herbs and blossoms picked from the Ritz-Carlton's rooftop garden, which we first wrote about in 2012 (story and cocktail recipe below). Hello Spring!

It's always good news when a garden opens up in an urban setting like downtown Los Angeles. It's even better news when that garden is filled with more than 15 varieties of fruits, herbs and flowers -- including basil, chervil, chives, fennel, lemon, lime, mint, orange, pansy and verbena -- to be used in a garden cocktail list that changes with the seasons. Situated 26 floors up at the Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, the new cocktail garden, which is overseen by Beverage Director Klaus Puck, serves both the Ritz-Carlton's "BLUE" rooftop pool bar and Wolfgang Puck's WP24 Restaurant & Lounge. The recently announced summer cocktail list features drinks such as Verbena Lemonade, which includes Kalamansi lemons and verbena leaves straight from the garden. Even better, Klaus Puck (pictured in the garden, above) was kind enough to share the recipe. Enjoy!

Verbena Lemonade

WP24 cocktails1.5 oz. Ketel Citroen Vodka
.5 oz. Kalamansi puree
1.4 oz. verbena-infused simple syrup (see below)
Juice from half a lemon
Lemon-lime soda

Add all ingredients into a mixing glass. Shake. Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass while adding the lemon-lime soda; fill to top. Garnish with verbena leaves.

For Verbena Simple Syrup
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
Generous handful of fresh lemon verbena leaves

Bring all ingredients to a boil, then let cool to room temperature. Remove lemon verbena leaves; the syrup should be a light yellow-green color and have the definite flavor and odor of lemon verbena.

 
A Fleurishing Concept Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Friday, 06 February 2015 08:53

NoFleurish flower barthing says Valentine's Day like flowers. For most that means the store-bought variety but for those who want to add the special touch of creating a bouquet themselves — or, perhaps, learn how to take the flowers from their own gardens and make them into beautiful arrangements, a visit to the new Fleurish flower bar in Brentwood, California, might be in order. The brainchild of Amy Marella, who also owns The Hidden Garden Floral Design and founded Fleurish with Allyson Arons and Alex Frost, Fleurish creates the space and offers the expertise (from tablet tutorials to professional floral designers on hand) to help people create custom bouquets using seasonal flowers. Beginners can start with the FleurKits, which provide a recipe card, vase, fresh flowers and other cuttings and all the tools needed to create a particular seasonal arrangement (below is the one I made from the Winter Solstice kit during my visit last Thursday), while those looking for more instruction might be interested in the beginner and intermediate classes or special workshops offered throughout the year. (Yes, there are Valentine's-themed events all next week.)

Fleurish arrangementThe Fleurish space is also available for private or semi-private group events, ranging from parties for "petite fleurists" (children over 7) to those celebrating birthdays or showers to corporate events. Groups are even free to bring in their own food and drinks at no extra charge.

For most of us, the garden(or farm)-to-table idea conjures thoughts of the herbs, fruits and vegetables we use in our kitchens but the truth is the garden-to-table concept can also be applied to flowers. As we all know, it's important to have flowers in our gardens to provide an environment that keeps the beneficial insects (including the all-important bees) happy but, the truth is, they also keep us happy. I have to admit that nothing brings a smile to my face like seeing fresh blooms in my garden, which range (depending on the season) from roses to poppies to lilies to chrysanthemums to zinnias. So what could be better than bringing that happiness to the table (especially in an arrangement we created ourselves)?

Happy Valentine's Day!

 
Keeping Your Back Strong When Gardening Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Shepphird   
Wednesday, 25 March 2015 10:49

Yoga in the GardenNow that it's spring and we're all spending a lot more time in our gardens, it's good to remember to take care of our backs. These yoga stretches for gardeners were first posted here in 2009 courtesy of the Ubuntu restaurant and yoga space in Napa. Ubuntu has sadly since closed but I think we can all agree that the tips themselves are timeless. Happy gardening!

If there is one thing that all gardeners share, it's a need to save their backs from all the lifting and bending that goes along with tending their gardens. Here are some tips from Ubuntu Yoga Instructor Courtney Willis on how to create a strong and flexible back through a some Yoga Flow for Gardeners.

  • Standing on your feet, reach the arms out and up bring the palms together way above the head, saluting the sun.
  • Slowly, bend the knees and bring your hands to the Earth, relax the head and breath here, working on extending the hips upward.
  • Lying on your back and bend the legs. Lift the hips and wiggle your shoulders under the back until you can clasp the hands. For a therapeutic variation. you can bring the hands to the hips, fingers facing outward.
  • This pose is an important counter pose for all the forward bending you do in the garden.
  • From here, release the spine to the Earth, create a 'T' with your arms and slowly drop your legs to one side and bring you gaze to the opposite arm.
  • Repeat on the other side.

This gentle sequence is accessible to every BODY and can be done before AND after a day in the garden.

 
Beyond the Farmers Market in Whitefish, Montana Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Shepphird   
Monday, 13 October 2014 07:05

Whitefish Farmers Market

Note: I just returned from a trip to Whitefish, Montana, which I wrote about here in 2009 (updated below). I am happy to report that the community's focus on highlighting local farms is just as strong, as is their commitment to preserving the natural land around the town through the establishment of an extensive array of hiking and biking trails open to the public through the Whitefish Trail program. If you'd like to learn more, visit Whitefish Legacy Partners.

A great way to get to know a community is to visit its Farmers Market. The Farmers Market in Whitefish, Montana, located in Northwest Montana, is no exception. Held every Tuesday evening from May through September, there are booths with fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, baked goods, arts and crafts -- even soap made from buffalo tallow. Music is playing and it often appears everyone in the town has come out.

But Whitefish has taken the farm-to-table concept one step further and also provides a map to the farms and fresh food (including community and school gardens) found throughout the Flathead Valley, produced by an organization called FarmHands, which has as its mission "connecting people with working lands." (Note: they also offer a groovy "Who's Your Farmer?" bumper sticker.)

The map identifies 65 farms, plus seasonal farmers markets in Kalispell, Whitefish, Bigfork, West Glacier and Columbia Falls, a harvest calendar AND the names of local businesses -- restaurants, hotels and markets -- that buy from local farms. The map and the groovy bumper sticker are available at the farmers market and in businesses throughout town and at the FarmHands website.

The town of Whitefish is ideal for those who love outdoor adventure -- with summer offerings that include hiking, biking, kayaking, rafting and horseback riding, plus easy access to Glacier National Park, which celebrated its centennial in 2010 -- and for those who enjoy returning from those adventures to a great meal in a number of wonderful restaurants (that use local produce!). For more information, visit www.explorewhitefish.com

 
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