Deep-rooted wellbeing: Welcome to the orto!
Our orto (culinary garden) is biodynamic, cultivated using such ancient techniques as lunar planting together with the principles of Rudolf Steiner. The abundant harvest provides both the inspiration and ingredients for Borgo's on-site restaurant Meo Modo and its Florentine sibling La Bottega del Buon Caffè, enabling Michelin-star executive chefs Andrea Mattei (Meo Modo) and Antonello Sardi (La Bottega) to design their plates from the source, thanks to a collaboration with biodynamic culinary gardeners Lorena Turrini and Davide Rizzi.
The principles of biodynamic cultivation mean that size, colour, flavour and shape can be tinkered with naturally, depending on the planetary influence under which the plants are sown, and so Andrea and Antonello are able to craft and plan signature dishes using tailor-made ingredients. Davide and Lorena's finely tuned understanding of biodynamic cultivation includes burying a cow horn full of manure and leaving it for six months as an energetic 'antenna' that transforms the soil into rich humus, which is subsequently sprayed over the garden.
Davide is a 'seed saver' who collects and develops ancient seed species, and both he and Lorena cultivate the orto from a biodynamic seed bank, which includes sought-after varieties from around the world. The pair also incorporate music and art into their approach, drawing on Davide's training as a concert musician and Lorena's background in fine arts, to create tangible sense of harmony in the orto.
“What we cultivate is food for both the body and soul, which also provides a beauty that nourishes”, says Lorena. “We'd like to create the image, especially for young people, of the culinary garden as not only a place of hard work but also of peace and serenity; as a way for people to rediscover its essential importance to human life.”
The Borgo orto provides sustenance throughout the estate: guests at the Borgo Cooking School use the fresh seasonal harvest in a range of cooking lessons, while practitioners at the Borgo spa collect healing herbs to make treatments and brew purifying tisane, such as lemon thyme, melissa and peppermint, which are offered to guests from an old-fashioned urn in the spa entrance hall.
Davide and Lorena are always more than happy to share their passion for biodynamic gardening with a fascinating conversation and the offer of a healing leaf or freshly picked berry, so why not drop by the orto for a chat or learn more with a garden tour?