Students Return to the Bernards Inn Garden

by artfuldiner on September 21, 2010

in Breaking News, New Jersey Event, Restaurant Event, Special Events

bernards-inn-corey-heyer2This coming Friday, September 24th, a group of fifth graders from the Willow School in Gladstone, NJ, will return to the garden of the Bernards Inn to reap the rewards of the harvest season. Students will harvest vegetables and herbs alongside Chef Corey Heyer and enjoy a special meal made with fresh ingredients from the garden that they helped plant last spring.


The event will take place from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., at the off-site location of the Bernards Inn garden, 601 Holland Road in Far Hills, NJ. (Rain date is Thursday, September 30th, from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.)


This is the second visit to the garden for the schoolchildren who helped Chef Heyer plant seeds and starter plants last May as part of the Inn’s Garden to Plate School Initiative. The community outreach program provides a hands-on learning experience for students who gain knowledge of how fresh produce goes from “garden to plate.”


This collaboration is ideal for the Willow School, an independent day school that fosters academic excellence and the joy of learning, alongside an exploration of the natural world, and for the Bernards Inn, which offers progressive American cuisine, featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients.


The Bernards Inn’s garden is part of a growing trend of cooking with locally grown produce. The chefs at the Bernards Inn first planted their garden about a year ago, realizing a long-time professional dream of Chef Heyer’s. He had always sought out local produce; but, motivated by the opportunity to grow the restaurant’s own vegetables and herbs, the garden takes this to a new level. In addition to great taste and freshness, local gardens offer a number of benefits to the environment: less pollution because produce does not have to be transported; less waste in terms of packaging; and a boost to the local economy.


According to Chef Heyer, “Although there is a huge supply of produce on the open market, it is mass produced and it can be very difficult to get specialty items.” The Bernards Inn’s award-winning restaurant features seasonal menus, and Chef Heyer often designs his menus around the fresh produce grown in the garden.


“What’s fun about working with the Willow School is that their curriculum emphasizes being sensitive to the environment. It was clear when students visited last spring that they were aware of gardening concepts and understood the value of growing locally,” Chef Heyer noted.


Chef Heyer, a father himself, hopes that the Garden to Plate School Initiative will provide students with education and motivation. “It’s exciting to be part of the learning process. I hope this still stay with them, and when they are grown, living in their own home, might think – wow, I remember when I was a kid and I had this experience – and it might someday motivate them to plant their own garden.”


Bon Appétit!



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