I wake up bright and early on a crisp, November Saturday and head to Paradigm Gardens. I park in the church lot across the street and almost mistake the gardens for one of the empty lots next door. But when I walk up to the entry, I am greeted by a group of guinea hens on their way out the gate.
“Excuse me,” I say to someone who looked like they might be in charge. “I think your hens are running out.” But Paradigm Gardens co-founder Joel Tilton tells me not to worry. “They always come back,” he says.
Paradigm Gardens is not your average urban farm. Although they have a small community supported agriculture program (CSA), the gardens mostly supply local restaurants with the produce they need for creative dishes.
Founders Tilton and Jimmy Seely grow typical produce such as carrots, salad greens, peppers, and tomatoes, sure, but the two friends also take lesser-known requests from the restaurants they supply.
Tilton shows me crops of Japanese turnips, starlet turnips, and three types of radishes, for example. In addition to produce, Paradigm Gardens also raises goats and guinea hens (whom I met when I walked in).
Where to Eat Paradigm Gardens Produce
Paradigm Gardens supplies produce primarily to three local restaurant partners: Coquette, Meauxbar, and Patois. Each of these establishments constantly has Paradigm Gardens on the menu, and excess produce is sold to other local spots like Ancora, High Hat Cafe, and La Petite Grocery.
After my morning tour of the garden, I head to Patios for brunch to taste some of the produce firsthand. I start with a beautiful salad of Paradigm Gardens greens, topped with goat cheese made from the Paradigm goats’ milk. The main course is next: breakfast tacos garnished with Paradigm Gardens radishes.
Paradigm Garden Concert Series
If you want to eat Paradigm Garden food in the garden itself, check out the monthly concert series. Each month, a local band plays and a guest chef cooks in the garden using produce picked that day.
The concert series is a great way to experience local produce right at the source, and the laid back, self-serve atmosphere makes it a great casual gathering for friends.
The next concert series is Tuesday, March 1. Like Paradigm Gardens on Facebook to find out when tickets become available.