Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Capitol Grille Stakes Out Its Own Produce Farm at Historic Glen Leven Estate

Posted By on Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 8:14 PM

Capitol Grille chef Tyler Brown surveys his plot of premium produce at Glen Leven.
  • Capitol Grille chef Tyler Brown surveys his plot of premium produce at Glen Leven.
The Hermitage Hotel and its restaurant, Capitol Grille, have established their own farm to provide fresh produce for the restaurant's upscale menu. Their partner in the project is the Land Trust for Tennessee, which has provided an acre of land on the grounds of the historic Glen Leven estate on Franklin Road in south Nashville.

Capitol Grille executive chef Tyler Brown may work at a posh downtown restaurant, but he seemed to be in his element when showing off veggies pulled from the dirt at the farm. (Thanks to my colleague Tom Wood of the Nashville Post for attending the announcement of the deal today at Glen Leven, getting the scoop and snagging a photo.)

The hotel says natural gardening methods are being used to grow the produce, and Brown has selected heirloom varieties of vegetables to maximize flavor.

The mansion at Glen Leven dates to 1857 and was used as a hospital by Federal troops during the Civil War. In those days, the neighborhood (about five miles from downtown) was completely rural. In addition to the mansion, a smokehouse, carriage house and farm office stand on the 65-acre estate. Susan M. West willed the property to the Land Trust for Tennessee in 2006. The nonprofit aims to protect historic and scenic lands from destructive development.

Interestingly, the farm partnered with a hotel in decades past. Glen Leven used to sell produce to the historic Maxwell House Hotel before it was destroyed by fire in 1961.

The Hermitage Hotel is also historic — it's celebrating its 100th year in business. Hotel guests are given the opportunity to donate $2 to the Land Trust for each night they stay, raising $100,000 so far.

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