It was nothing less than a beautiful day at Edible Garden, a summer long event at the New York Botanical Garden celebrating naturally grown food. Today is opening day and the garden looks amazing! Many people are wearing their garden hats and are ready for a day filled with tours, gardening advice, cooking demonstrations and sampling. The Conservatory courtyard housed a tasting all day with samplings of Spanish omelets made with Analon cookware, Quady Winery had wine slushies, Ciao Bella made mini brownie sundaes and the best Granola I've ever tasted was by Ambrosial.


A trip through the Conservatory was next. This walk takes you through a climate controlled journey to see live rare plant life and tress. It's quite an impressive nature display. First, you walk through the Rain Forest where you see an array of different trees and plant specimens. You can feel the dampness in the air, almost like being in the Amazon, except a lot less dangerous. As you continue your adventure, you find yourself in the desert where, the temperature is perfectly dry and hot to sustain the various live cacti. Then, there is a vast garden displaying the different fruit, grains, nuts, rice and vegetable plants and trees which, for city folks like myself is a wonderful learning experience. Who knew what the quinoa plant looked like? I sure didn't. Here are some beautiful pineapples to wet your palate...looking very sweet!


Edible Garden will host many exhibits, culinary demonstrations and degustations this summer at the Botanical Garden. On this day Chef Dan Barber from the acclaimed restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns spoke about the great "farm-to-table" restaurant movement that is starting in America. Which is specifically what he does at his restaurants. Farm fresh seasonal ingredients that are served to patrons whom travel as far as the White House to eat and taste. Chef Barber wants to "create a good story with agriculture" and create a model for future chefs of the world. The Chef was witty with his explanations and talked about his experiments in the garden, many favorable and some disastrous. Overall trying tirelessly for his name to be synonymous with "this guy is a fricken genius" which got plenty of laughs from the audience. He explained, that "we are hard-wired to know where our food comes from" and the importance of being a "foodie" which he describes as an environmentalist and an activist. Chef Barber spoke very highly of the Hudson Valley, calling it "the best grassland in America." He said, "Grass is the best ingredient for good eating, for beef and the taste of meat" and that "all animals should be raised on grass." The chef seemed inspired by his work and was inspiring. A visit to Blue Hill at Stone Barns is definitely in my future. [stay tuned for that posting.]

Martha Stewart was next to take the stage at the Conservatory Kitchen located under the tent on the lawn. She and her group of experts gave a wonderful talk about the wonderful world of herbs. Starting with the proper way to even say the word "H-E-R-B" which, Martha argues should be pronounced with a heavy "H" since, "you wouldn't call your husband ...erbert would you?"

Martha went on to describe the beautiful herbs represented at the Botanical Garden's herb garden which she and Andrew Beckman, Garden Editor for Martha Stewart Living magazine designed; and which, Martha takes great pride in perfecting, openly pointing out a bare section in the garden which she would like filled as soon as possible. Martha described the delicious varieties of herbs such as the Asian and Russian dill and, the different ways an herb garden could be beneficial. Even promoting the idea of an Apothecary garden for holistic medicinal purposes which she warned with caution. But not before long, it was time for the fun stuff. COCKTAILS!

Summer Herb Cocktails of course, made with herbs fresh from Martha's garden. Martha showcased her mixology expertise and made the delicious libations, the Martha-tini and the Purple-Basil Mojito whose recipe she borrowed from Dan Barber. Afterwards, Martha parted giving her guests a tasting of pâté on crostini and deviled eggs along with a gift bag with all the latest issues of her many magazines.


After a wonderful afternoon of demonstrations by top New York experts, a tour of the garden was next. The Botanical Garden has 250 acres of lush green grass, beautiful flowers and an overall magnificent landscape. My first stop was the Martha Stewart herb garden which truly is special. The amazing garden's many fragrant herbs left me feeling as if maybe it was time to ditch the city, move to the country and plant my own garden. Okay maybe not, but it still was very impressive. Afterwards, to get a better look at the Botanical Garden, I hopped on the free narrated tram tour which tours the garden with a hop-on hop-off service and takes you to various scenic spots such as the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden.

Edible Garden 2010 events will be held at the New York Botanical Garden all summer long from June 19th to Octber17th 2010. Edible Evenings, A Celebration of Wine, Beer and Food will be held every Thursday evening. There are cooking demonstrations at the outdoor Conservatory Kitchen every Saturday. Chef Emeril Lagasse and Lidia Bastianich will participate on the last weekend of Edible Garden. Be sure to check the schedules to keep abreast of the multiple exhibits and all that is happening at Edible Garden.

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