The Kitchen Garden


Contini Kitchen Garden

Our established 1 acre kitchen garden is located 5 miles from Edinburgh in Lasswade. 

A derelict garden has been cultivated over since 2011 to create a unique and very special addition to our kitchens in all our venues. A labour of love. 

The garden has established fruit beds including gooseberries (harvested usually in July), two varieties of rhubarb Early Timperley and Victoria which allow us to extend the season from May sometimes until September. Red, black and white currents keep the kitchens going into August then the blueberries some out.  We have over 40 apple trees with a wonderful selection of heritage varieties including White Melrose and James Grieves. Largely cooking apples which support the kitchen in the autumn months. Victoria Plums, Quince and Williams Pears are the hardier trees which add depth of flavour to our cooking. Raspberries, both summer and autumn varieties take up a full bed. 

The potager provides a huge selection of herbs that we harvest almost all year round. Thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary, lovage in abundance, bay leaves, oregano, marjoram. Fresh mints varieties include spearmint, chocolate, apple mint and Hemingway's Mojito. Horseradish provides the roots and the leaves for a little extra herby punch.  

The polytunnel is an added extra for the garden. In the summer we plant soft herbs like basil, Genovese basil, tangerine sage, pineapple sage and Italian flat leaf parsley. In the winter salad leaves and beetroots take over. 

We love the kitchen garden as it shares the seasons with us. Seasonal planting includes everything from carrots, courgettes, beetroot, Jerusalem artichokes, artichokes, cabbages, squash, pumpkins, strawberries.  All exciting ingredients that are added to our menus or appear as specials from our Tasting Menu to one off dishes in any of our kitchens. 

Flowers.  We love flowers; courgette flowers are delivered to the kitchens sometimes twice a day in the peak season, borage, nasturtium, bread bean flowers and so many beautiful gifts from nature. 

Our wild meadow adds table decorations in the spring and summer.  Rosemary and apple mint in the autumn, holly and ivy over the winter.  Choices that dramatically impact our carbon footprint.  Even the plants that we use on our terraces in the restaurants over the spring and summer months are annually replanted in the garden to waste nothing.  

Victor and John Campbell, our gardener, work months in advance to give the chefs the best produce grown for you in our restaurants.  

How can we forget our bees?  Victor with help from Andrew the beekeeper, tend to our seven hives that are in the upper garden.  Safe enough away from the garden but happily sheltered and with our natural spring that feeds the garden we have a little pond to keep the bees well watered. 

Follow the harvests on twitter.  Victor and John do a fortnightly video that the teams share on all our social channels.  More importantly come and taste and let us know what you think when any of our kitchen garden ingredients are listed on our menus. 

VIDEOS – The Development of our Scottish Kitchen Garden


Credit:The wonderful Coolbox !