Growing your own: Restaurant trend takes off in SWFL
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Among the hustle and bustle of downtown Fort Myers, Steve Hollister shows off his small oasis. The owners of Twisted Vine Bistro turned their back patio into a garden this past year. They grow micro-greens like parsley, basil and mint.
"We spent four or five thousand dollars on micros last season. My wife said she could grow the same thing for about $400," Hollister said.
And they're not alone. In a recent survey of chefs, restaurants with gardens was listed as one of the hottest trends in the food industry.
At Shoals Restaurant and Wine Bar near Fort Myers Beach, you'll dine on produce grown at the restaurant's own farm.
And over at Buckingham Farms, they're doing the same process only in reverse. The hydroponic farm not only sells fresh fruits and vegetables, but also homemade dinners, breads and jams.
"We want to grow local, hire local, keep everything here," said owner TJ Cannamela.
The point of these trendy new establishments is to pinpoint exactly where your food is coming from. Though sometimes, these gardens can become a blessing. As one of Hollister's neighbors found out during the Kentucky Derby.
"One of the downtown bars ran out of mint, for the mint juleps," Hollister said, "they call up and say 'can we have some mint!?!'"