It used to be that our diets consisted of what was readily available depending on the season. We ate more strawberries in the summer and had our parsnips in autumn and that is just how it was. Today, thanks to how well the world is connected, many fruit and vegetables are available all year round as they are imported. However, this does not stop homegrown produce from having its seasonal relativity, as any gardener would tell you.
Anything that people want to practice in their homes is often quickly embraced by the hospitality industry and ‘growing your own’ vegetables is no exception to the trend. Hotels across the world are now spending more time and money investing in their own green spaces where they are loving being able to supply their own kitchens with raw ingredients.
Keen to reduce their carbon footprint and save on importation costs, growing their own produce can mean that hotels become more self-sufficient. The 41st floor of a New York skyscraper might not be the first place that would come to mind when thinking about outstanding vegetable patches, but somewhere like the Waldorf Astoria New York is really something special. Growing kale, carrots, tomatoes, lettuces, fruit trees and edible flowers, and even with its own beehives, the 20th floor rooftop space garden in the city became a tourist attraction in its own right.
In the UK, the climate is rather wet and relatively mild all year around, not getting too hot in the summer, or too cold in the winter. This makes for perfect conditions in which to grow a range of seasonal produce, from small greenhouses on roof top terraces in the city to acres of land surrounding a country estate housing honeybees and distilleries. Let’s take a look at some hotels with amazing kitchen gardens here in the UK.
At this hotel, guests can really immerse themselves in the local food culture scene. Offering a little more on the herb garden front than parsley and mint, Northcote offers greenery along the lines of French Sorrel, a culinary herb of the buckwheat family, sweet cicely and globe artichokes.
This luxury 5 star retreat in northern Scotland has an impressive two acres of land to cater for its vegetable garden. From blackberries and apples to carrots and potatoes the hotel grows a plethora of fruit and vegetables throughout the year, including a wide selection of herbs. With everything being thoroughly utilised in the kitchen, many of the flower arrangements you will see inside the hotel are also grown in the grounds.
On the outskirts of Harrogate, the kitchen garden at this hotel features over 50 raised beds containing well over 100 different herbs.
Growing all of the essentials for the tastiest of salads, the garden at this 4 star hotel also provides vegetables and soft fruits. Intensively cultivated courgette flowers are sent to the kitchen daily during the summer months and feature prominently on the menu here.
Located just over an hour from Swansea in Pembrokeshire, this hotel offers over 70 varieties of fresh veggies. This 5 star hotel has an extensive herb garden and delicious summer fruits available too, with the chefs here being known for foraging in the hedgerows of the grounds for an extra dash of wild garlic, nettle leaf, elderflower and even the occasional wild blackberry.
Less than half an hour by car from the centre of Bath, Lucknam Park kitchen has a rather eclectic variety of produce on offer. From rhubarb and white raspberries to baby vegetables and micro herbs, the philosophy at Lucknam Park is ‘garden to gourmet’ and they will not disappoint.
Undeniably one of the best kitchen gardens in the country, Barnsley House boasts an immaculate kitchen garden which grows everything from Gem lettuce and sweet peas to squash, asparagus, carrots, radishes and so much more. The hotel is also home to a number of chickens which lay organic eggs and bee hives which provide honey to the hotel too.
With a kitchen garden dating back to Victorian times, this hotel has really provided it all over the years. The walled garden grows a large number of herbs including rosemary and sage, in addition to a selection of vegetables such as potatoes, courgettes and rhubarb. A marvellous Victorian glasshouse keeps grapes, figs, pears, strawberries and much more safe from local wildlife, with the ever changing seasonal produce greatly influencing the hotel’s daily menus.
Home to the only British restaurant that has held onto two Micheline stars for over 30 years, Raymond Blanc’s 5 star hotel has a somewhat infamous vegetable patch. The garden supplies the kitchen with over 90 different vegetables and over 70 different herbs from around the world - it even boasts its own orchard.
The Ham Yard is a classic example of when you would not expect a hotel to have a vegetable patch, let alone a thriving kitchen garden that provides produce for a trendy Soho restaurant and bar in the centre of London. Seasonal vegetables, fruit and a number of herbs are all homegrown here and they even keep bees to make their own honey.
You can’t source more locally than your own back garden, but do you like the idea of being dependent on the land? Where will you be heading on your next food focused adventure?