Ten years ago I had the opportunity to tour Alice Waters’ Sustainable Schoolyard garden at the Martin Luther King School in Berkeley, California. I was incredibly impressed with the facility and humbled by the good work being done. It began our discussions about garden friendly hotels. In the ten years since my visit to Berkeley, we have built many similar gardens throughout our system- JW Marriott Grande Lakes, Boston Marriott Burlington, Cleveland Airport Marriott, JW Tucson Star Pass, and now our Corporate Headquarters.
Constructed in April and just planted on May 5 (a bit late, but we will take full advantage of the Washington summer), the Corporate Kitchen Garden will supply the development test kitchens and the surplus will go to support a local school’s culinary training program. The Culinary team gardeners also plan at least one Farmers Market this summer for the colleagues at headquarters.
While in Napa Valley recently, I popped into the Napa Valley Marriott and got a chance to s ee for the first time the exceptionally designed lobby; their new bar, Vin Eleven; and their huge garden. Even by Napa standards, to see Chef Brian Whitmer’s garden is an impressive glimpse into what so many of our hotels are doing to activate our sustainable goals.
Brian Whitmer says “Our menu takes inspiration and guidance from the seasons,our new heirloom garden, supporting local artisans and a passion for great food”. Seafood is sourced sustainably of course, but Brian also uses local cage free eggs, single farmstead cheeses, natural beef and poultry and additional organic produce. In fact, Brian is not alone when it comes to implementing our approach to integrity minded food.
The JW San Antonio Hill Country is a benchmark example. I wrote about this spectacular property in February of 2010 and talked about what they were doing, but recent vistors there have come back just raving about the food Chef Ryan Littman’s team is preparing. Breakfast in Cibolo Moon features items such as Huevos Rancheros with cage-free eggs. In fact, all of the shell eggs are cage-free, as is the case at many of our properties. Our JW Life approach to organic, sustainable, and responsibly-sourced food has included cage-free eggs as a key component. I have met with and continue to meet with the Humane Society of the United States, suppliers and distributors, and global sourcing as we discuss our desire to achieve a completely cage-free egg for our shell egg uses. Similar to FutureFish, our global approach to sustainable seafood, our approach to sourcing eggs and other protein hinges on humane treatment of animals and support for the environment.
What’s on YOUR plate today?