Every once in a great while OES decides to get out of the office and do something wild. So we sprung for celebrating Farm to Table Week at the historic Elkridge Furnace Inn. We thought we would just enjoy a great lunch, but as we were leaving we ran into Owner and Executive Chef, Daniel Wecker. That’s where the actual fun began. We told him we were out celebrating Farm to Table week and he responded logically with “well, did you see the farm?” Huh, why didn’t we think of that?
A tour followed, courtesy of Dan. The Elkridge Furnace Inn gardens are remarkable, as you can clearly see from the images. These all organic gardens were super impressive and offer young people the chance to learn organic gardening.
Dan clearly understands the importance of working with the environment and celebrating fresh, local, organic food. Even the swallowtail butterflies love eating at the Inn.
Some highlights include:
- All organic gardens including veggies and fruits
- Organically grown flowers – edible and used for table decorations
- A short fence around the garden provided nice aesthetics while keeping out small critters, but also a solar powered electric current running through the back near the woods successfully keeps deer at bay
- Composting on site used to fertilize the garden
- Smoke house on site to prepare their own meats
- Native plants galore, including some locally discovered native hydrangeas
- In front of the Inn is a 200 yr old Linden Tree – a Howard County Champion Tree
Of course there is a lot more within these gardens, but we admittedly were quite distracted by the abundance of butterflies to remember all the details.
However, we got the most important lesson: next time you sit down and ask for a menu, ask to see the farm too.~Lindsay DeMarzo OES Staff August 2013