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The Soho Grand Is Knee-Deep In Green Beans

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  Site Where: 310 West Broadway [map], New York, NY, United States, 10013
June 16, 2011 at 9:53 AM | by | ()

Two months ago, Chef Richard Farnabe, the former personal chef to designer-turned-hotelier Tommy Hilfiger, planted a garden on the roof of the Soho Grand Hotel. No stranger to the world of horticulture (he also keeps a garden at his home in the Hamptons), Farnabe is excited about the fact that, at seventeen stories up, this garden has remained (and hopefully will) absolutely deer-, bird-, and bug-free. And, just like a deer out of the forest, the whole locavore-inspired project seems to have come out of nowhere!

"We didn't have any idea about how to do a rooftop garden. At first, we wanted to do a garden in the parking lot, so we asked the owners about it, and they suggested we do it on the roof because there was more space. This garden was improvised, we didn't research anything. We just started doing it."

Sadly, guests (of both the hotel and the Club Room dining area) are not allowed up to the garden to pick their own leafy greens. What with all the fancy latte art and busybody social media activity happening, guests are far too preoccupied to be frolicking in the garden anyway. We asked if he ever accepted any tips or suggestions—you know, one friendly gardener to another—but no, none of that either. It's just as well, we suppose. Too many chefs in the garden and all that...

Of the 20 different kinds of vegetables (including 37 varieties of tomatoes!) grown there, Farnabe gets particularly creative with the squash blossoms and green beans. Squash are stuffed with fresh goat cheese and tempura-fried, while green beans show up in salads, garnishes, and soups.

We have so many green beans it's not even funny. The more we pick, the more they grow."

[Photo: GrandLifeNYC]

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