The last time I caught up with Philip Pretty, he had just taken over the kitchen at Long Beach’s Restauration. Since then, the Chef has really put down roots in the community, a process that has included the establishment of a working relationship with a local urban farm. Located in North Long Beach, the farm was formerly known as Top of the Town, but is now under the purview of Organic Harvest Gardens, an entity that specializes in the design, installation, and maintenance of organic gardens. Pretty turned 37 on August 16th, and, since he always cooks on his birthday, decided to host a celebratory dinner on the farm, which I was invited to attend.
The garden currently supplies about 60% of the produce used at Restauration (note that the farm’s output is shared with fellow LBC eateries James Republic and Thai District). Items that are grown here include watermelon, squash, lettuces, watercress, tomatoes, beans, beets, carrots, corn, artichokes, chilies, edible flowers, and numerous herbs such as sage, parsley, cilantro, lavender, dill, basil, and pineapple sage. There’s even a small chicken coop for egg production (to be enlarged to eventually accommodate 100 birds), while microgreens are grown in a greenhouse at a separate Organic Harvest Gardens location. By the end of next year, the team hopes to expand the garden to adjacent parcels of land, which means the farm should hopefully supply at least 90% of Restauration’s produce needs.