If you think a farmer’s market is the best place for fresh herbs and vegetables, consider this: Nothing is fresher than growing your own produce — and a community garden is a perfect place to do so.
Community gardens, which simply are gardens on any piece of land worked by a group of people, offer a lot more than fresh produce, according to the American Community Gardening Association (ACGA), a nonprofit membership organization of professionals, volunteers and supporters of community greening in urban and rural communities.
Such gardens improve the quality of life for those working in them, provide a catalyst for neighborhood and community development, stimulate social interaction and encourage self-reliance, according to AGCA. In addition to beautifying neighborhoods and preserving green space in urban areas, community gardens yield fresh, nutritious foods that are sure to be noticed by your guests.
For some restaurants, like Whiskey Cake in Plano, Texas, restaurant employees are the community involved in the planting and harvesting of produce. During summer months the restaurant’s outdoor garden is mainly managed by a single employee, but the restaurant keeps a grow room inside year-round, with each employee having a plant to care for. Each plant is labeled with the employee’s name, and the thriving herbs are kept in plain view of dining guests, which adds a touch of authenticity to the restaurant’s freshness claims.
Additionally, the restaurant posts photographs of its community garden on its Facebook page, which serves to entice guests looking for fresh and flavorful foods.
Imagine your own garden spot and you’ll come up with lots of ways to intrigue guests. Either in-house or using social media, show them photos of produce on the vine and then let them know when it will be picked and used in recipes. Mention the day’s fresh garden items on menu and chalk boards. Such moves will make your guests even more eager to try your dishes.