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A fresh approach

Local businesses are saving and sustaining with farm-to-table economics.

by brandon russellPublished: January 01, 2012

As a young boy, there were few things I disliked more than helping my mom garden. In fact, I preferred being grounded over a long, tortuous day shearing hedges, digging up weeds and pruning rose bushes.
   
My mom, on the other hand, appreciated gardening’s therapeutic side, especially when tending to her vegetable garden. For her, there was nothing more gratifying than cultivating food from the earth.
   
“Isn’t that what grocery stores are for?” I would ask.
   
What I didn’t know was that growing locally encourages healthy eating and puts less reliance on large industrial farms, something Laguna Beach-based Aliso Creek Inn & Golf Course is putting into practice with its new kitchen garden.
   
Its six new raised garden planters, which were constructed from unused lumber found on property grounds, will be a source of herbs and vegetables that the hotel plans on utilizing in its kitchen.
   
“Using organic gardening techniques, along with local soil and compost right from our property, will make for some amazing future crops of vegetables and herbs,” said Catering Director Andrea Wilde.
   
Along with Executive Chef Jennifer Gonzalez, Wilde will be in charge of crop selection and maintenance when they officially kick off the gardening season this spring. Right now, the two are learning the finer points of growing locally and how to best utilize the new resource while the gardens undergo a trial run during the next few months.
   
The six new garden planter boxes will be located between two meeting room buildings; guests and event attendees will be able to see firsthand how the project is shaping up.
   
“I look forward to using items that our customers may see in the planters as they go to their morning meetings in the dishes we serve them at night,” Gonzalez said. “It doesn’t get more local than that!” alisocreekinn.com