Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Rick Bayless's Garden
One of the many delights of the Chicago Spring Fling was our visit to Rick and Deann Bayless's garden. I was thrilled when I heard we would visit it because I'm a big fan of their Chicago restaurants, Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, and Rick's PBS program "Mexico, One Plate at a Time". Jeff and I had dinner at Frontera Grill the night before CSF started and as usual, we were not disappointed. Truly some of the best Mexican food in the U.S. comes out of their kitchen!
So it's no surprise that the focus of this garden is their vegetable/herb plot. It basically takes up the entire back of their row house. (Their backyard is comprised of three row house lots, with the other two lots containing a deck, a pond, the grill area, ornamental plantings, and a garage.) What an operation the vegetable garden is!
The Bayless's have a full time gardening consultant, Bill Shores, seen above explaining how he grows the micro-greens. He gave a really fascinating talk about how the garden is used for commercial purposes, supplying both restaurants with about $20,000 worth of produce a year. Can you imagine? The garden was still producing what we normally grow in the winter and early spring in the South (so I wasn't able to nab any epazote seeds as a friend down here wanted me to do!).
There are also numerous container plantings, many of which also house edible plants. Below are plantings of vining spinach with angelonia for a splash of color. And a fig tree in a pot.
And here's a lovely little deck for relaxing.
You Chicago area gardeners should check out the upcoming (June 14) 'Festival of the One True Taste', a series of events to benefit the Frontera Farmer Foundation. From their website: "The Frontera Farmer Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting small, sustainable farms serving the Chicago area by providing them with capital development grants." One event is a sort of farmers market where local farmers offer their specialties at the restaurant. The other event is a six course dinner. Yum, I would be there if I could!
And thanks again to the CSF organizers!