The Ravenous Garden: Farm-To-Table Fare

The Ravenous Garden: Farm-To-Table Fare

May 18, 2016

By Keelin Toal

Farm-to-table fare has long been a part of Ravenous from the beginning. Before the creation of our catering kitchen (as it’s known now), we were equipped with a rented space and a big patch of dirt that we were told wouldn’t grow anything. Armed with the excitement of a challenge and the hope to bring our clients fresh herbs and veggies, we transformed that patch of dirt into the very first Ravenous garden. With humble beginnings and minimal space, we were excited to bring our clients some fresh veggies and quickly decided that many varieties of squash plants would be the best approach. Today, each one of our “al Fresco” platters contain Ravenous squash grown at home.

The garden not only saved us money but was extremely rewarding. We quickly realized we wanted to create something that truly drove our farm-to-table dreams home (literally). Years later, we expanded to create our commercial kitchen in Monitor, Washington and were determined to grow a garden of epic proportion.

We started out small in the beginning. With help from our close friend, Pam Beaver, we built 14 raised garden beds. By raising our beds, we were able to avoid the dreaded weed takeover while also creating a truly beautiful setting. The first year was the starting point, and now we’ve grown to over 22 beds with several different varieties of fruit, veggies, and herbs. Thanks to another close friend, we’re excited to announce the new growth of special seeds only available in Italy! Thanks Russel and Giampiero!

Our garden is both a scientific process and an exhibit of the love and passion we have for our craft. We document every season and rotate our crops every year. We spend winters researching crops and configuring which crops will yield the most outcome. The seasons are ever changing, so this can be very challenging.

We start every year with seeds in our south-facing “nursery” window during the cold winter months; by March and April, we begin planting the sprouts outside and joyfully watch them flourish. The raised beds have helped to ensure our goal of a fully organic garden, and thanks to Indoor Tropic, we’re able to employ 100% natural pest products! We also make sure to compost all garden waste in order to retrace into the beds and bring nutrients to our sprouts.

This year, we’re extremely excited to have a plethora of veggies and herbs blossoming. Just this week, we’re harvesting our arugula (thank you NCRL!). Additionally, our corn continues to flourish and we hope it will be knee-high by the 4th of July. In addition to those yummy vegetables, we also grow shallots, red onions, potatoes, radishes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, chard, beets, carrots, sweet peas, tomatillos, and even more!

We use all of our organically grown produce in our dishes and we like to think of them as our “secret ingredients”. For example, we have a large horseradish bed that allows us to use freshly grated horseradish for our smoked prime rib! We also have a rhubarb plant that contributes to our homemade deserts.

As every green thumb knows, a truly beautiful garden could never thrive without love and dedication. Val’s mom loves watering the herbs, Dave loves wandering the garden and making sure everything is flourishing, and Val loves figuring out creative ways to add our crops to culinary dishes! Even our granddaughters have their own garden beds full of parsley, strawberry, and raspberry plants. We hope to pass on our love of organic cuisine to them! The garden is truly a family affair full of love and dedication and we’re always excited to be able to share it with our clients.