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Golden Oak Breaks New Ground with Farm-to-Table Dining

Golden Oak Breaks New Ground with Farm-to-Table Dining

Imagine strolling through the garden to pick the freshest, most aromatic herbs and mouth-watering vegetables and fruits to use in the kitchen. Juicy oranges plucked right off the tree, luscious blueberries bursting from the bush, aromatic basil, thyme and oregano delighting the senses and ready to season dinner.


This is just what the staff at Summerhouse does on a regular basis in offering residents a true farm-to-table feast. Markham's Sous Chef Michael Gonsalves recently created a succulent sample of Roots, Hay Smoked Carrot, Charred Salsify, Sweet Potato Tortellini and Vine Pistou, and Cherry that exemplified the superior flavor that comes with using fresh, house grown ingredients straight from the Summerhouse garden.


"Our goal for the Golden Oak vegetable garden development project is to bring only the freshest ingredients into the restaurant all while educating residents about the hands-on, daily agricultural process," Gonsalves said.


The first ever agricultural garden at Walt Disney World® Resort outside of The Land pavilion at Epcot®, the garden at Summerhouse produces 35 varieties of vegetables, edible plants and herbs including eggplants, black eyed peas and collards. One member of the Summerhouse team is specifically devoted to tending the Summerhouse gardens and finding ornamental plants like the Canna Lily and Marigold which beautify the gardens and are edible!


The team is working to cultivate a garden at Summerhouse that produces seasonal crops that will wow the residents with flavor and variety for the unique dishes whipped up at Markham's.


"We are laying the foundation for deciding which plants are right for our climate and seasons," Chef Russell Palmer said. "Once we know what grows best, we will fill the garden with unique and flavorful crops to spice up the menu even more."


The garden is spread out across Summerhouse property. There is an orange grove in addition to a bay leaf tree and all-spice tree. There are raised beds along with trellises for vine crops. There are beautiful, edible flowers. As the garden grows, more edible plants will be introduced so that residents will have more pizzazz for the palate.


Residents who can't get enough farm-fresh fare can experience garden tours and receive tips for trying out Summerhouse horticulture practices in their own gardens.

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