Noble Picks A Bad Day For Gardening

Noble–the all-American, dedicatedly local restaurant currently under the command of chef Brinn Sinnott (ex of LaCroix, Supper, Amada and elsewhere)–makes a big deal out of its farm-to-table-y-ness. The chickens are local, the pancetta is cured in-house and, come summer, a fair amount of the produce is taken from the garden maintained right on the roof of Noble’s home at 2025 Sansom Street.

But here’s the thing… In order for that rooftop garden to eventually give forth all the vegetables and edible flowers that Noble will use for its regular menu and monthly roof-to-table dinner series, someone has to get it planted. And because nothing in the restaurant industry ever goes easy, yesterday–with its drenching rains, high winds and tornado warnings–was the day that Sinnott had decided to do his gardening.

“Grace tried to cancel on me because of the weather,” Sinnott told me when I got him on the phone this afternoon, speaking of Grace Wicks from Graceful Gardens who helped to design the rooftop plot. “But I said, ‘Nah, we’re doing it’.”

And they did, cramming all the pulling, turning and planting into one fast, two-hour effort. “It wasn’t bad,” Sinnott insisted. “Just as we were pulling the stuff off the roof–our equipment–that’s when the rain started. But we just got in there and did it.”

What went in yesterday was mostly the small plants: basil and marjoram, lemon verbena, alpine strawberries, nasturtiums and “a lot of odd little things that we didn’t have last year,” according to Sinnott. Up topside, he’s got three long planter boxes and three stand-alone planters for everything he grows–not a lot of space, but better than a windowbox, for sure. And a couple weeks from now, Wicks will be back with some of the bigger produce: the tomatoes and peppers, cucumbers, blueberries and lemongrass.

Sinnott and I talked about what he was able to get out of the garden and how much of his own kitchen’s needs he was able to cover, and he said that while he is able to take some herbs and flowers for the regular menu, he tries to save both the bulk of the produce and the best of it for the roof-to-table menus. “I try to save it,” he said, “and then harvest mostly for the dinners.” But as for being totally self-sufficient on just one rooftop garden? “There’s no way.”

Noble’s roof-to-table dinner series will be starting in June. And for those who just can’t get enough garden porn, here’s a quick slideshow of the Noble team at work.

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