Thu, 22 Aug 2013 18:55:00
Meet Worthy’s Garden Specialist, Lisa Kronwall
Everybody loves farm fresh produce. At Worthy, we’ve gone a step further. To supplement our locally grown produce supply, we’ve been harvesting veggies and herbs from our very own garden.
As the saying goes, if it were any fresher, you’d slap us!
Lisa Kronwall, Worthy’s Garden specialist, for the past few weeks has been happily harvesting swiss chard, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. Most of these beauties began their journey to your pizza or salad in Worth’s greenhouse as seeds.
Along with the veggies, Lisa has been plucking a number of aromatic herbs, such as rosemary, basil (3 varieties), tarragon, parsley, thyme, mint, oregano and chives. You can enjoy their garden fresh flavor on many of our pizzas.
On deck to be harvested is a spicy array of hot chili peppers, including such varieties as Habanero. Thai, Peppercini, Serrano and the terrifying Scoville scale topping Ghost Pepper (Bhut Jolokia). We planted these from seeds in Worthy’s greenhouse months ago.
“This has been a lot of fun for me,” says Lisa, who after getting her college degree in horticulture spent a few years maintaining botanical gardens in Chicago, Illinois. “I love the beauty and utility of plants and flowers. They’re lovely to look at and tasty to eat!”
She also enjoys the tranquilizing properties of flowers, vegetables and herbs. “They help you relax. My goal at Worthy is to create a colorful environment where people can come and relax and even learn a few things about the plants we use every day, whether in their food or beer.”
Before joining Worthy, Lisa had never grown hops before. “It’s been very exciting for me to get to work with the hop experts at Oregon State and Indie Hops. They’ve been a tremendous help. We have over 30 cultivars of hops in our hop garden now, including four (4) ‘mystery hops’ that were bred by OSU and Indie four years ago.”
“It’s cool to look out at the yard every morning and know that Worthy’s showcasing the brilliant work of hop giants like Dr. Al Haunold, as well as the new generation of hop experts at OSU like Dr. Shaun Townsend and Dr. John Henning.”
Growing hops, herbs, flowers and veggies in East Bend is not without it’s challenges. The natural “soil” is essentially a mixture of sand and solid basalt, courtesy of nearby Pilot Butte. Worthy imported truckloads of specially designed soil to fill the raised beds in which the hops, herbs and veggies are planted.
“The main challenge has been the climate,” said Lisa. “We have extreme temperature shifts out here. It’s seldom static. It can snow one day and be blazing hot the next.”
Pests can be a pest, but Lisa feels confident she can keep the aphids and mites under control. She’s planted a number of ground covering plants and flowers that attract lady bugs and other insects which prey on the “bad bugs.”
“What I don’t have,” she joked as she rubbed her lower back, “is a natural predator for the noxious weeds that tend to abound out here, other than humans like me.”
For as long as the sun will allow it, Worthy will be harvesting fresh herbs and veggies from our garden daily. You can see what’s been freshly plucked by reading our chalkboard behind the bar.