Check Out Our Garden!

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We’re thrilled to let you know that the hotel’s vegetable and herb garden is even bigger, badder and greener this year. So what’s on the menu? Collard greens, cabbage, lettuce, acorn and patty pan squash, eggplant, tomatoes and pumpkins are just a few of the offerings.

Jake’s Rooftop Garden, named after owner Judy Paul’s grandpa, came to be in an interesting fashion. Tommy Benedict, an urban landscaper and the guy in charge of the whole shebang, took me though the beginnings. (You know those beautiful flower arrangements in the restaurant? The ones that you could never, ever fathom doing yourself? That’s Tommy.)

Judy had always wanted a rooftop garden, and last year finally decided to do something about it. As the building is a little um, long in the tooth, she checked with an engineer to see if it the roof could actually carry the weight.

And so an ingenious idea was born. To avoid putting any direct pressure on the roof itself, a kind of suspended railroad was created around the perimeter and secured with iron. Crates and window boxes carrying the actual produce are perched on the contraption, raised about a foot up along the edge of the ceiling.

And there you have it…a rooftop garden that doesn’t actually touch the roof:

 

Tommy feels that vertical growing in containers as opposed to sideways ultimately produces a higher yield, as herbs and vegetables are continuously harvested and thus constantly replenish themselves. (Farmers with a vast acreage can usually only harvest once a year.) Another advantage to using crates is that individual boxes of veggies can be moved around so that each gets the proper amount of sun…micro-management at its best.

Last year, the garden yielded almost enough herbs to fuel the entire restaurant and bar. (Yes, we grow our own mint for our mojitos–don’t you?)  So this year, Chef Yoel Cruz presented Tommy with a detailed wish list of what he could use in the kitchen–and Tommy came through. Almost a dozen different types of peppers, three types of basil, leeks, chives, zucchini…you get the picture. Our herbs and vegetables are mostly sourced from local farmers and Tommy expects to keep the garden going through October, or at least until the first frost.

Jake’s is a true city garden. New Yorkers are geniuses in space utilization and the hotel is no exception. Tommy explained to me that pfizer viagra cheepest prices horticulture may be a science, but you still have to experiment and make it your own. He’s committed to looking at different ways to feed us and we’re equally committed to eating it up.