Food Lovers' Guide

They Can Dig It

Seattle chefs grow their own in edible gardens.

By Jessica Voelker July 19, 2010 Published in the August 2010 issue of Seattle Met

HONEYBEES DIVE-BOMB your ankles as you weave your way around the custom-built beds lining the roof of Bastille Café and Bar in Ballard. Here chef Shannon Galusha coaxes to life various lettuces and herbs, so many, in fact, he’s made additional beds out of popsicle-blue kiddie pools. Rooftop honey sweetens up preserved rhubarb on Bastille’s pork belly; the greens anchor a classic salade verte. Just a few blocks away at ground level, Dish D’Lish’s Kathy Casey keeps a garden full of figs and fragrant flowers as well as bees. In fact, she and Galusha use the same beekeeper.

Forget OSHA-approved clogs and microplane graters—edible gardens are the must-have accessory for food-forward Seattle chefs, who grow as much of their menu as they can in their own backyards. At his Georgetown restaurant, The Corson Building, Matthew Dillon cultivates herbs and edible flowers. And over on Capitol Hill, the chipped-paint aesthetic of charming Volunteer Park Cafe and Marketplace continues with a patio built out of bricks salvaged from a nearby demolition. From a tiny backyard henhouse, chef-owners Ericka Burke and Heather Earnhardt plan to pluck eggs to fold into their fluffy quiches and cakes, and sprout veggies in whatever space remains.

In Kirkland, Brian Scheehser, chef at Trellis restaurant in the Heathman Hotel, has made a name for himself crafting unrivaled salads from heirloom tomatoes and wild greens grown on his farm just 30 miles away.

But it’s the Herbfarm, of course, that tops the ambition apex of restaurant gardens. Head gardener Bill Vingelen tends year-round crops at the five-acre farm down the road from the Woodinville eatery; it’s also home to a duo of grunty Mangalitsa pigs. These charcoal-haired lardies ultimately show up on the menu, but until that day they dine on four-star scraps from the kitchen and garden, returning important nutrients to the soil. Not a bad life for a pig.

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