There aren’t too many four star resorts out there—even fewer have their own farm. When dining at JORY, the signature restaurant at The Allison Inn & Spa, you get garden-to-table fare without even leaving the grounds. Originally set to only be a half acre lot, the Chef’s Garden has increased in size to nearly two acres due to the resort’s success and growth since it opened in 2009.
According to Garden Manager Anna Ashby, the idea for the Chef’s Garden was dreamed up by The Allison’s late owner Joan Austin, who envisioned the garden as a culinary collaboration.
“The menus in JORY are inspired by what is seasonal and fresh and the culinary team works closely with us each year to determine what is planted,” said Ashby explaining how the influence between dirt and dining works both ways. “As the staff work with us to plant or harvest an excellent product, their perspective changes so they are better able to showcase what we grow.”
The garden has evolved over the years with the addition of a greenhouse, planters and even bees. Ashby, a Master Gardener since 2002 and a beekeeper to boot, came to the Chef’s Garden in 2013 to put her training and a lifetime of experience to work.
Come July, Ashby reports that the summer vegetables are just maturing. With a good amount of space set aside for peppers, tomatoes, and squashes, the garden also grows lesser known items like cardoons, orach, and celeriac. Cool season crops will go into the ground sometime in August, to be harvested from fall until next spring.
While crops are cultivated by two gardeners, with occasional help from the kitchen staff, Ashby likes to share the garden as a peaceful place where visitors to wine country can go and watch things grow.
“The garden is a very special place,” Ashby said. “We welcome guests of The Allison to come out and see us, employees are even known to sneak away for a few minutes and take a break amongst rows.”
To stay updated about what’s growing on at The Allison, visit the Chef’s Garden blog, State of the Garden.
Below: Looking north the length of the garden, Cincinnati Market radishes, over-wintered Purple Sprouting broccoli, tomatoes ready for staff tomato tasting.