Local Food Project
Airlie's Organic Garden and Local Food Project
Founded in 1998, the Airlie Local Food Project is the most delicious aspect of the hotel's Green Initiative. Centered around the four-acre organic garden on the campus, the local food project seeks to reduce the number of miles food travels from field to table, provide the best ingredients possible for the overall dining program, support local family-run farms, and educate visitors about sustainable agriculture.
The chefs and gardeners work closely together to plan crops around the seasonal menus prepared in the kitchen. A passive solar hoop house in the garden enables fresh produce year-round. Guests can enjoy the fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers grown in the garden at The Whistling Swan Pub or as part of a special event catered by the culinary team.
In addition to supplying fresh produce for the kitchens, the four-acre organic garden also educates guests about sustainable agriculture and local food systems. Airlie offers frequent educational tours of the garden that are fun for all ages. Guests will learn what's in season, how their food is grown, and will discover fresh flavors with the Local Food Project master gardeners.
Airlie garden tours cover the basics of organic gardening and offer a look inside the greenhouse, which supplies Airlie's kitchens year-round. Guests will also get tips on growing their own fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers at home from the experts. Airlie gardens are also home to an apiary of "Enviro-bees," a colony of honeybees that provide honey for the kitchen, pollination for the crops, and the opportunity to conduct vital research on local Piedmont bee populations.
Airlie organic garden tours are a perfect way for groups or families to take a break in the great outdoors. Al fresco tastings of appetizers prepared with organic ingredients from the gardens served with local wine can also be arranged for groups.