Fresh vegetables gathered for Northshore Brasserie.
An East Tennessee restaurant supports the "eat local" concept. So some of the food on customers' plates comes from a garden down the street.
"We had a good month with the beans over here some Italian Rose, we've got beets still on the ground, Albino and Bulls Blood," Brian Balest said. He is co-owner of the Northshore Brasserie.
When he decided to grow vegetables for his restaurant, friends at Creekside Nurseries let him use land next to a greenhouse.
"This is great soil, it's very deep soil, really fertile. We're going all organic," he said.
Balest embraces organic and local.
The garden is both.
"It just allows us to have total control over the product at the restaurant. We know exactly what's going into it. It's convenient to the restaurant. We come down here everyday and it's been a lot of fun," he said.
Brian and his chef have done all the work: planting the seeds, watering, weeding, mulching, and gathering.
"The labor's cheap," he said with a laugh.
As chef Jesse Newmister gathers ingredients he brainstorms about what he'll make for the menu that day down the street at the Northshore Brasserie.
"It's going to be a cucumber tomato salad. Make a vinaigrette out of these orange peppers and maybe hit it with some herbs and we've got some Benton's bacon as well," Jesse Newmister said.
Now that he's grown his own produce, the chef appreciates farmers all the more.
"It gives you a lot more respect for everything on the plate and it's just nice to have fresh vegetables that we know that there's been no herbicides, pesticides, or anything like that on them," he said.
In the spirit of organic gardening they take the peels and some of the leftovers from the restaurant and put them in a compost bin at the garden.
"It will be turned every few days and then we'll get that into the soil in the fall," Balest said.
The soil has produced a variety of vegetables, with more on the way.
"We put about 120 tomato plants in, we've got about five or six varieties," he said.
He and Newmister weren't sure what to expect when they started the project in the spring.
"So far so good. I'd say it's a B+ to an A," Balest said. "There's a lot of trial and error in gardening. Some things work some things don't. Kind of like the restaurant business actually."
His restaurant and his customers are enjoying the fruits of his labor in the vegetable garden.