Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Corporate Edible Garden Works For Employees

This is not the typical garden that I usually visit for this blog;

 but then the edible garden at the Nautilus Business Park is also not your typical business park garden.  

This converted parking lot is now an urban farm, smack in the middle of a biotech hub in La Jolla, California.

Raised beds are planted with seasonal crops such as radish, parsnip, French fingerling potatoes, and broccoli.

Not only that, the edible garden supplies food to an adjacent eatery, designed with rustic wood farm style tables, and staffed by local chef, Joel Cammett.

The green theme is perpetuated top to bottom with faux grass turf--checkerboard style on the ceiling tiles.

This is not your mama's work cafeteria. And it almost kicks the farm-to-table concept up a notch: sort of like farm to board-room table.

The eatery is operated by local top chef Brian Malarkey's restaurant enterprise. 
Chef Joel and staff make fashionably healthy and organic breakfast and lunches available to employees of the surrounding corporations on Mondays through Fridays. 

They sell take-home dinners by phone order in the afternoon. 
Green Acre is open to the general public as well.  

The edible garden does not provide all of the produce this restaurant needs to serve its patrons, but 

seven months after installation chefs and diners are enjoying the benefits of freshly harvested greens, veggies and herbs just steps from the kitchen.

The urban farm, installed by Karen Contreras of Urban Plantations, is aesthetically pleasing 
with veggies in raised beds

Lavendula officinalis
 and herbs, less fussy about soil quality, are at ground level in surrounding beds.
Her company also tends the farm three days a week.
Urban Plantations will design edible garden urban farms for corporations and residences, and has also installed one at an assisted living facility.

Passion fruit vines grow on trellis fencing that enclose the raised beds.

Valencia orange trees are planted in the ground just outside the raised beds.

During a tour of the garden, organized by the San Diego Horticultural Society on January 26, Karen Contreras noted that this venture with Alexandria Real Estate Equities, the corporate sponsor of this urban farm, is not necessarily profitable. She indicated that the concept is more about providing a corporate carrot, if you will, to attract the best and the brightest people here.  The company also provides a fitness center and yoga at this site.  As for Green Acre, there are plans to open Green Acre East just down the road at Campus Pointe, another high volume work complex.

Of course, good food is always a concept that works.

This is GardenEnvy.

Copyright 2012 by Jeannine. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Daydreaming And I'm Thinking Of France And Vendôme Pavilion

  The memories of some of the trips I have taken, particularly to England and France, in the last couple of years seem to constantly pop up in my head.
For instance, I'll be in a warrior pose during yoga class and I realize my mind is wandering through the

open air market in Aix ('ex')-en-Provence, where I once bought Provençal tablecloths and spices, ogled French cheese and ate little Madeleine cakes, paella and even saucission (which normally I never eat) while sitting with my son at one of the many old fountains that sprinkle this town. The best part of daydreaming, of course, is that I get to visit France again and again, if only in my mind. The problem with going there during yoga is that I am supposed to be in 'the present moment,' focused on breathing and aware of my body.

Now I'm in downward facing dog and the garden at le Vendôme Pavilion pops up in my head. It is an 18th century residence with a small French design garden in Aix, in the south of France. 

Not the kind of garden that is on a must see list or anything like that,

but the lovely kind of small park where people like to hang out on a bench to enjoy the view and fresh air while they relax a bit.

The large, ubiquitous plane-trees line up here like they do on other streets in the city, particularly on Cours Mirabeau--the big boulevard in town.

I visited this little garden early in Spring, 2012, on a clear, bright day.

I loved the concrete urns, the topiary and the pansies that filled numerous beds.
Back at yoga again and in bridge pose, my instructor is saying, "Make every pose be delicious," using her favorite yogi adjective.  And I remember that after seeing this garden, my husband and I went to a small café and purchased an inexpensive yet incredibly crusty and delicious French baguette.

Finally, I am laying in corpse pose--one of the most difficult positions in yoga, my instructor notes--during shavasana, the final relaxation phase.  I am taking long, slow breaths and relaxing all of my muscles. Meanwhile, my mind is lost in Menton, a small French town bordering Italy, where I walked for miles one day looking for a garden I never found. At least the views, and the memories, are inviting, peaceful and calming.


This is GardenEnvy.

Copyright by Jeannine 2013. All Rights Reserved.