Garden Glory

The kitchen garden at Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards is as beautiful as it is bountiful.

Find Diane Burns watering the gardens that fan out from Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards’ tasting room in North Garden, and you’re in for a treat. 

Pick her brain about what’s on the menu that day—odds are she plucked the ingredients from the grounds that morning—or, better yet, glean tips on how to grow food more beautifully at home.

“Our gardens are not only functional, but they’re display gardens,” says Burns, a horticulturalist who tended historic beds at Monticello before joining Pippin Hill in 2016. “They have to be beautiful.” 

And why shouldn’t they be? That’s why purple chive blossoms and ever-bearing strawberries edge furtive beds of beets and kale in the spring, tomatoes and beans in the summer—and a hundred other varieties besides. Kieffer pear trees grow like flat candelabras against one wall, and rainbow shades of Swiss chard wave like palms along a pathway.

Burns works with Executive Chef Ian Rynecki during the winter to plan what the gardens will grow. Earthy parsley root is at the top of Rynecki’s list this year, and chartreuse Romanesco will look as stunning growing along a gravel walkway as it will served escabeche-style at a wedding reception. 

“I let the ingredients speak for themselves,” says Rynecki. “I’ll base a dish around a carrot, because the carrot is so good.”

Garden-grown ingredients get sketched daily onto a chalkboard in the dining room, alongside maps of what’s growing where. 

Visitors are encouraged to wander, wine in hand, through the manicured beds for inspiration. If they’re lucky, Burns will be there, weeding, watering and willing the asparagus to produce a few more stalks this year.

Pippin Hill Cooking School

Beyond the garden, learn tricks for the kitchen through a series of classes hosted at Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards by Chef Ian Rynecki. Courses include making fresh pasta, pizza, soups and stews. Private classes, which include a tour of the garden, may be booked for groups of 8 or more. Tickets from $75.

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