Scenes from the fledgling BAMCO balcony garden, clockwise from top left: mixed lettuces and basil; our adopted kalamansi lime tree; strawberries, rainbow chard and heirloom collard greens
We’re proud that so many of our accounts have bountiful onsite gardens that supply fresh produce to our cafés. In fact, the New York Times recently recognized our company’s sponsorship of gardens on corporate campuses. Guests at many of our corporate cafés can enjoy fresh Brussels sprouts and blueberries in the café, but this hasn’t been the case at BAMCO headquarters in Palo Alto, CA. Until now. Well soon, anyway.
Inspired by the dedication and success of green-thumbed Bon Appétiters across the country (okay, and envious of their bounty), we started our own garden – on the balcony of our fourth floor office! The formerly unused, sunny break spot now supports a growing assortment of pots, containers and even a former trash can brimming with hopeful little plants. Currently, Albion strawberries, mixed lettuces, heirloom collard greens, rainbow chard, dragon tongue beans, basil and a statuesque dwarf kalamansi lime tree bask in the Silicon Valley sun.
While our office gardeners were initially met with quizzical looks from co-workers while walking down the hall with a watering can and dirty hands, interest in the garden – and its potential bounty – is growing. Our IT Director just brought in a cutting from his shiso plant for us to transplant, and the Director of Audit is hoping we’ll plant cilantro. Human Resources and office staff have pitched in to water. The kalamansi lime tree, orphaned after its 15 minutes of fame as decoration during an event at Cooking For Solutions, rode shotgun in my car on the way back to the office and was immediately transplanted to a large pot in its new balcony home.
While the harvest to date of two strawberries and a handful of lettuce leaves is hardly sufficient to feed 25 hungry office-dwellers, we hope to eventually reap a sufficient quantity of fruits and vegetables to prepare hyper-local, seasonal foods we can all enjoy. Until then, single lettuce leaf anyone?
p.s. Check back for updates as we blog stories, successes and mishaps (euphemistically known as ‘learning experiences’) from the garden.