Epicurean’s Edible Garden/Herb Walls
Our farm-to-table approach stems from wanting to bring you the freshest, local ingredients straight from a cool and creative garden – aka the Élevage garden wall inside the Epicurean Hotel straight to your plate.
The hotel’s herbs are used in all aspects of the hotel. From culinary creations inside of the Élevage kitchen, to hand-muddled cocktails at EDGE Social Drinkery, to organic treatments inside our luxurious Spa Evangeline.
This creative culinary garden and conversation starter didn’t grow overnight. There is a unique story behind our garden wall located adjacent to Élevage and our herb wall located in Spa Evangeline. The vision comes from Uriah’s Urban Farm, rooted right here in Tampa by a local South Tampa (born and raised) resident, known as Farmer Dave.
Farmer Dave has been farming for chefs locally for 15 years and Uriah’s Urban Farm is just a few years in the making, but the vertical herb walls are now gaining so much national attention that he is excited to announce that he is expanding his business to New York in June.
After the economy tanked in 2008, farming had its challenges and healthy eating wasn’t a priority due to cost. Things finally started looking optimistic for Farmer Dave in 2012, when new vertical herb wall technology started to surface in the marketplace and sustainable farming and the foodie scene started to develop and expand not only in Tampa, but nationwide. When the Epicurean Hotel opened, Chef Chad and Tom Haines approached Farmer Dave about adding vertical garden walls as a way to locally source ingredients and to commit to serving the freshest and best ingredients, a tradition on which Bern Laxer had established as his foundation.
Being in the farming business for so long, Farmer Dave always had a passion for delivering highly delicious and nutritious ingredients to Chefs that are dedicated to serving only the most quality ingredients to their guests. Today, the vertical garden walls inside the Epicurean Hotel get replenished twice a week (depending on the volume). The ingredients are always changing, with the menus and treatments.
One of the herbs that Chef Chad introduced Farmer Dave to and a popular ingredient used inside Élevage is lovage; a french herb used in soup dishes and cocktails. It is extremely strong and so potent that only part of the leaf is used to flavor dishes. Another unique herb currently growing on the Epicurean herb wall is the Winter savory, loaded with an amazing flavor profile. A combination of rosemary, thyme, oregano and a black pepper bite at the end. Mostly used for baking bread and croutons thanks to its zest and spunky bite. Also filling the lobby garden wall is a mixture of four different lettuces that are used in the famous Epicurean Salad. Chef Chad always switches it out and makes new varieties, so it always changes and it’s always freshly picked
Fresh is in. Sustainable agriculture is in. And next time you come in, be sure to ask our host what’s on the Élevage garden wall that week and we will be happy to fill you in!
(Stay tuned, in a future blog post, I am going to fill you in on all the herbs growing on the vertical garden wall inside the Spa Evangeline!)