Hyper-Local Food in Chico Hot Springs, Montana

(Click on the smaller images below for a larger view.)

Kate McLean discovers giant tomato plants in the green house.After our wedding last week in my hometown of Clarey MT, Ian and I set off on our cross-country honeymoon. Final destination: Mann’s Choice, Pennsylvania, where we will live and work for at least one and up to six months on an organic vegetable farm.

First stop: Chico Hot Springs. Nestled in the Paradise Valley of Montana, this resort is most famous for its beautiful scenery and the natural springs that warm the pool and hot tub. But if you take a walk around the grounds or stop in for a bite at the dining room in the main lodge, you’ll see that the waters are good for a lot more than a hot soak.

A drip system distributes the mineral-rich water to a sizable garden and two greenhouses. The chefs at Chico enjoy a selection of fresh produce all year round. And they make good use of it, incorporating fresh greens in their salads, raspberries and melons in their desserts, and fresh herbs in the main entrees. At the bar you can enjoy a martini made with Chico lavender, a mojito with fresh garden mint, or a margarita made with organic tequila.

Ian checks out the gardens at Chico Hot Springs Resort: Hyper-local food!

Trellised heirloom tomatoes in the Chico Hot Springs Resort greenhouse.We sampled an appetizer of apple-smoked Idaho trout (delicious!) and the next morning took a stroll through the gardens and greenhouses.

Among the vegetables we spotted: several varieties of peppers and tomatoes; a host of herbs including basil, sage, mint, and cilantro; beets, lettuce and chard, parsley, kale and eggplant; as well as raspberries, watermelon and cantaloupe

All grown  pesticide-free and you can’t get more local! We’re totally satisfied with our Chico food experience.

On to Yellowstone!

Here are a few more photos of the gardens and greenhouses.

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