Back Forty

Our Heirloom Garden

Food is our business – and our passion. We grow our own bounty in our “Back Forty” heirloom garden, producing an abundant array of non-GMO tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, squash, cucumbers, radish, beets, onions, carrots, lettuces, herbs and more. Our garden is cultivated with a love for what we do and knowledgeable expertise for doing it well – and right.

Designed to produce fresh, unique varieties with first-rate flavor and constant harvesting throughout the growing season, the garden not only offers our restaurant and catering teams access to the best ingredients, it also helps us extend our roots to our surrounding community. From partnerships with local schools to teach sustainability skills, to our ongoing farm to table events, our Back Forty garden is fruitful and meaningful in so many ways.

Fallow Fields in 2018

Sustainable farming and gardening allow for rotation on the Back Forty’s crops. It also allows for its soil to remain fallow – that is, empty of crops we harvest. In this way we avoid depleting the soil. We replenish it naturally, rather than through artificial fertilizers. This year we are allowing the Back Forty to remain fallow.

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How it Works

It all begins with the soil

At season’s end (usually the end of October or beginning of November), the soil is tilled, composted and fertilized, and a crop of winter wheat or rye is planted to restore nutrients back to the soil.

Tilling winter wheat/rye provides enrichment

In early March the winter wheat is tilled and left for one week to breakdown and enrich the soil. Then the soil is tilled every other day for five days prior to planting. This aerates the soil and brings any rocks or debris to the surface to be cleaned away.

The order of plantings is key

Certain areas of the garden are reserved for quickly maturing, hearty, cool temperature plants, initially planted in early March/late April and throughout this cool season. Other areas of the garden are left unplanted at this time and continue to be prepped for live plants planted during the last week of May or first week of June.

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What's Growing

First Plantings (late March/early April)

Carrots: dragon, jaune du daubs, little fingers, paris market
Beans: bush, royal burgundy, golden wax, conteder
Peas: carouby, snow, alderman
Spinach: bloomsdale, giant winter
Radishes: purple plum, hailstone, cherry belle
Onions: barletta
Greens: italiko rosso chicory, catalogna gigante di chioga chicory
Kolhrabi: purple vienna, white vienna

Second Plantings (last week of May/first week June)

Cucumbers: boothby’s blonde, national pickling, Boston pickling, lemon
Summer Squash: cocozelle di napoli, romanesco, tondodi piacenza, benning’s gren tint scallop, bianco di trieste
Swiss Chard: barese
Turnips: viola di milano, purple top
Herbs: genovese basil, dark opal basil, cilantro, fenugreek, oregano, sage, sill, dukat, anise hyssop

Third Plantings (July – August)

Tomatoes: azoychka, black prince, casipian pink, chef’s choice orange, purple cherokee, garden peach, georgia streak, green zebra, sun gold hybrid, super snow white, verna orange
Peppers: ancho luato, chilhucle amarillo, dagger pod
Eggplant: ghostbuster, green goddess, listada de ganida, little fingers

Fourth Plantings (September – October)

Kale: dwarf blue curled scotch, russian red
Swiss Chard: rainbow blend
Radish: black spanish, china rose, purple plum, hailstone, cherry belle
Carrots: dragon, jaune du daubs, little fingers, paris market
Greens: italiko rosso chicory, catalogna gigante di chioga chicory
Spinach: bloomsdale, giant winter

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Final Harvest

Turning it Back to Mother Earth

Generally, all tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and summer squash are harvested from July to October. Weather permitting, cool weather crops –such as peas, greens, swiss chard, spinach, carrots, winter radishes, lettuces and beets – are planted. These plants usually take 40-50 days to mature and produce the final harvest. End of season depends on the approach of first frost. After the final harvest, the stems and leaves are composted and the soil tilled.