Garden Days of Summer
Our vegetable garden is a small patch that can still produce a volume of food. We start by planting a variety of vegetables like beans, peas, kale, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, beets, zucchini, squash, leeks and shallots, but as any farmer (big or small) will tell you, some years are good for one crop but not another. Either way there’s always a profusion of produce to harvest.
Of course some of the vegetables make their way into the B&B breakfasts. Rhubarb stalks are used in berry-rhubarb crumbles, and squash from our late-season gourds and other veggies may wind up in the Butternut Squash Frittata. The over-abundance of vegetables in the summer gives us the chance to freeze extras for use throughout the year.
The herb garden has more functional daily use. This garden is close to the house in what Jonna calls “zone 1” for easy access while making breakfast. Summer guests may find Cindy’s Lavender Shortbread Cookies on their amenity plate. Herbs such as basil, thyme and parsley make frequent appearances in breakfasts in the summer. Mint is often added to the refreshing drinks that are offered to guests on their arrival. On good years we add sage, lavender and fennel to the basil and thyme to make an herbes de provence, used to season breakfast vegetables or Herb Baked Eggs.
Besides the vegetable and herb garden, the house is surrounded by other flower and planting gardens, all given close care. Not to ignore them, but they deserve attention in their own blog in the future.
The Climbery, in Elizaville, is a unique, private garden with one of the largest clematis collections in the world. Check out their Escapes article in the New York Times. Wethersfield is a country estate with beautiful formal gardens and panoramic views. It is open to the public from June through September.
Several gardens are on notable historic estates. Montgomery Place, former estate of the Livingston family, is now part of the Bard College campus, and open for mansion and grounds tours. The Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield is part of the Franklin Roosevelt Hyde Park campus. The formal gardens of the F. W. Vanderbilt National Historic Site are just a few miles north, also in Hyde Park. Locust Grove Historic Estate and Museum has a grand landscape garden and nature preserve, and also holds garden sunset dinners and wine & food events.
Should you wish to reap the rewards of local agriculture and some of the bigger “gardens”, be sure to visit Mead Orchards, Greig Farm or Rose Hill Farm. Or simply visit the Rhinebeck Farmer’s Market, Montgomery Place Orchards market or Migliorelli Farm Stands for wide-ranging choices.
And don’t forget the agricultural highlight of the year, the Dutchess County Fair in Rhinebeck. Each August the fair brings the bounty of the region to a half a million people. Part agriculture, part carnival (and all food), the fair is Rhinebeck classic and one not to miss.
So whether it’s our smaller vegetable and herb gardens, or the larger gardens, farms or fairs, agriculture plays an important part not only in the region, but also in your stay at the inn. Come and enjoy!