Fresh fare affairs

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Here’s how three IGCs highlight the positives of plating unique, freshly grown dishes while creating an atmosphere for locals to enjoy.

Many garden centers are exploring the rich possibilities of on-site cafés and restaurants. It’s a lot of work, but adding meal or snack options can extend customer visits and draw new visitors while generating eye-catching social media fodder. Here’s how three IGCs highlight the positives of plating unique, freshly grown dishes while creating an atmosphere for locals to enjoy.

Cornell Farm Nursery & Café

Portland, Oregon

1. From family farmhouse to quaint café, the original building at the heart of Cornell Farm was converted to preserve its original details, charming architecture, built-ins and fixtures inside and out. What was once a living room used by the family is now the cafe’s primary dining room.

2. In 2019, the IGC added a covered outdoor pavilion to connect even more diners and nursery-goers with the beauty and history of the site.

3. Since 2016, Cornell Farm has been serving up fresh, seasonal fare from the Blatter family’s historic 1926 farmhouse, which has found a second life as a café with a full espresso bar, pastry case, sit-down brunch service and more.

4. At Cornell Farm Café, guests can enjoy seasonal espresso drinks as well as an ever-rotating menu of pastries and other goodies from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Garden Gate Greenhouse

Peru, Indiana

5. The meatloaf and potatoes dish is one of the Garden Gate café’s most popular offerings. The pulled pork meal, where the meat is smoked in-house and hand-pulled, is also quite popular amongst diners. The café is known for its selection of salads. Shown here is the chef salad which is full of freshly picked veggies grown on-site just for the restaurant.
6. The café also hosts events in the barn connected to the greenhouse. Shown here is the Breakfast with Santa event, which took place this past December. Employees pitched in on the festivities, and the café manager even made a cameo appearance as Santa.

Colonial Gardens

Blue Springs, Missouri

7. Colonial Kitchen is a farm-to-table restaurant nestled inside Colonial Gardens. The café provides a unique dining experience with indoor, outdoor and greenhouse seating.
8. Head Chef Chris Hall creates seasonal menu items with fresh produce and regionally sourced, quality products for patrons to enjoy.
9. Guests can order farm-direct options from Colonial’s vegetable garden or local vendors.