Thanks to Joseph Davey, our Corporate Beverage Manager and the General Manager of the Indianapolis location of Eddie Merlot’s, we’ve installed small organic herb gardens at our Indianapolis and Fort Wayne locations, with plans for more next growing season.
This is the first year for the gardens, Joseph says, and they’ve proven to be popular with customers. In Indianapolis, Joseph solicited the help of a local organic farmer to bring in fresh, rich dirt for the planting bed. Joseph dug down about one foot into the planting bed and got rid of that dirt so he could use the new dirt, which had not been treated with any type of chemicals or fertilizers.
Executive Chef Reid Craig from the Indianapolis location says the garden contains basil, parsley, two types of sage, cilantro, thyme, rosemary and oregano, as well as nine jalepeno pepper plants. “People love it,” Reid says. “We use the herbs and peppers in the restaurant all the time. We tell our customers we use the freshest ingredients, and we really do.”
Joseph says customers notice the difference. “We want to use everything in the garden,” Joseph says. “When the chives first blossomed, they had these beautiful purple flowers, which are edible. You are supposed to clip those flowers off, because growing the flowers takes away from the energy needed to grow the chives themselves. So we cut the flowers off and used them as a garnish. It was beautiful and guests saw something different.”
Joseph snapped a few photos for us when the garden was first planted. He expects that by late July, it will be in full bloom, with much larger plants. He hopes that other restaurants will add the feature next year.