In The Garden with Aris Curtis
“The main goal is giving back more than we take.
This includes creating and fostering a balanced ecosystem for polyculture production, providing experiential education and real world techniques for regenerative farming practices (carbon sequestration, pollinator habitats, companion planting, low/no till, etc.), establishing connection and giving back to the community and land and of course, providing consistent and the highest quality produce imaginable.”
– Aris Curtis
How would you describe your approach to regenerative farming?
AC : I would describe the foundational part of the philosophy as “giving back more than you take”. We try to do that in every way possible such as planting native plants and flower hedgerows, minimum-no till bed preparation, cover crops, etc.
Ultimately we use a holistic blend of tools, techniques, practices and philosophies to help our specific system. The health of land across the world has been depleted significantly. Oftentimes, it needs to be regenerated back to a healthy, balanced state.The goal after that is to continue sustaining that equilibrium and having as many closed loop systems as possible.
What makes The Madrona’s gardens and grounds so special?
AC : It already has a very mature surrounding landscape. This provides a more balanced ecosystem, shade and beauty to the garden. It also provides a unique microclimate.
Typically it gets very hot in Healdsburg. However this location allows for proper cooling moments in the morning and throughout the day. We have established a robust, healthy food system with our cultivated gardens intertwined with the landscape.
How do you plan for a full year’s worth of plantings?
AC : Hyper communication with Chef Jesse and Hipo (lead farmer) to figure out what crops are desired, what is working best in the field, etc. We practice diligent crop rotation practices.
This is important to ensure we don’t continuously plant the same family of crops into the same beds over and over (this promotes disease and pest build up). Also the understanding of every crop such as its growing habits, day to maturity (for fruiting), weather preference, soil preference, nutrition preference, etc.
What have been some of the best pieces of produce to come out of the garden this year?
AC : Carrots during the cool seasons and Tomatoes during Summer. The carrots tasted super sweet and tender while producing well into late Summer!
We had an amazing variety of tomatoes this year like heirlooms, cherries and San Marzano for sauce! I love the diversity and of course, they tasted amazing.
Are there any practices that The Madrona utilizes that could apply to a home garden?
AC : Absolutely! The timing of planting a specific crop is very important. Some crops prefer cooler weather whereas others prefer warmer weather.
Some crops even love to be overwintered and taste the best during the coldest part of the season. The Madrona Gardens is always the leading example in the correct timing of plants (given our location).
Art at The Madrona
DESIGN • AUGUST
The Madrona is honored to house a unique and dynamic art collection curated by Dolby Chadwick Gallery. Multiple pieces throughout the hotel are available
for purchase directly through the gallery.