Even with eighteen restaurants and 300 cooks to manage, chef David Patterson of the Broadmoor hotel and resort in Colorado Springs tries to source much of his produce locally, and some of it even comes from the property's own farm. Broadmoor Farms runs 5,500 square feet of land near the resort's golf course, with herb and vegetable beds, two greenhouses, ten beehives, and flower beds that provide landscaping plants for the Broadmoor's beautiful grounds.
"We utilize 100 percent of what's here, but it's such a small percentage of the food we use on the property," says Patterson, adding that the enormous resort also boasts forty event rooms where food is often served. "We could buy all the produce in Colorado and I don't think it would be enough to support us."
Although the garden doesn't supply nearly enough produce for the whole property, Broadmoor Farms does give the cooks and chefs under Patterson's wing a place to learn and experiment. It's also a great way to get out of the kitchen and spend some time in fresh air and in the dirt each day, which also makes them happy.
"We have a horticulturist, but our chef team is 100 percent invested in what goes on at our farm," the chef notes as we walk around the rows of plants. "The thirty chefs and sous-chefs are involved from the germination to the weeding to the harvest."
The mini-farm also provides children of Broadmoor guests the option to do Bee Brunch, a program where the little ones can learn about produce and edible flowers over breakfast. Then there are the flowers, one of the biggest crops grown on property, which the groundskeepers use in flower baskets that hang from just about every lamp post around the lake and beyond.
Overseeing the greenhouses and garden is Kathy Hunter-Leming, who on a recent visit was busy pruning cucumbers, tall tomato plants and boxes of bright-green herbs. You can taste the fruits of her labor at Natural Epicurean, the Broadmoor's organic restaurant, which specializes in local fare. Bites from the garden pop up at the other eateries, too, but the majority of what they serve is sourced from other farms in Colorado and beyond. Among the local suppliers, Patterson points out, is Corner Post Meats in nearby Black Forest, where the chef gets some of his pork.
"Part of being a luxury resort is that guests want fresh fruit in January — and we cater to what the guests want," says the chef, but he still thinks it's important to have a garden on the property. "We have apprentices and students come out to the farm, and being here helps them see how something like tomatoes are grown...and they have a better reverence for ingredients."
In the end, he says, it all translates to a better guest experience. Plus, the gardens are peaceful and relaxing, and guests can visit it if they set up one of the special experiences in advance.
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