GMO? What is THAT you may be thinking? No, it’s not the newest rapper on the scene or some kind of rare disease, it stands for genetically modified organism (when scientists tinker with produce and their DNA, kind of like creating Frankenstein but with veggies/fruits/grains). Corn, soybeans, cotton, and papaya are some of the major GMO crops and it’s not been proven to be safe to consume. But Winvian, the swanky 5-star resort in Litchfield Hills, Connecticut is taking a bold stand against serving GMO foods in its gourmet restaurant.
“We are positive and fervent food activists who strive daily to preserve the integrity of our local food system purchasing only from farmers who do their best to comply with our standards of pure, natural and GMO free food,” explains executive chef Chris Eddy.
Winvian’s two-acre garden, where vegetables, herbs and other edibles are grown without herbicides, fungicides and pesticides, will source much of the non-gmo produce for its kitchen. Therefore, the garden and its in-season produce will dictate the Winvian Restaurant’s nightly menu.
“We are big supporters of Connecticut New England Organic Farming Association (CTNOFA) and integrate many time-honored traditional gardening techniques to assure the highest level of purity add flavor in our own gardens,” said Eddy.
In fact, because of the CTNOFA, GMOFreeCT.org and the Winvian’s efforts, among many other Connecticut locals, the Senate passed a GMO food labeling last week!
Because the kitchen relies on seasonal and insofar as possible regional produce, the garden dictates what will be on a nightly menu.
In May, for example, “We harvested ramps (wild leeks) we foraged and used them heavily on the menu in celebration of such a glorious and truly organic spring arrival, harvested in our own woods,” Eddy said. “We encourage our guests to embrace bio diversity and to experience new flavors, which we in the kitchen deem well worth trying.”
And it doesn’t stop with just eating organic, non-GMO at Winvian either. Their extensive wine cellar has a selection of over 50 organic and/or biodynamic wines. This summer flowers grown organically on the property will grace guest cottages, while honey bees forage outside in Chef Eddy’s apiary.
The Skinny on Winvian
Winvian, just two hours from Manhattan, is a AAA Ten Diamond retreat (5 for the resort and 5 for the restaurant). The resort offers 18 individually themed luxe cottages (from music to maritime themes) and one suite on 113 acres of meadows and woodlands. Nightly rates at Winvian start from $549 midweek for two a la carte (breakfast included) and from $1,050 for two all-inclusive. Head to www.winvian.com for more deets.
More GMO Resources
Seeking out non-gmo food, whether it be in your next vacation locale or at your next meal, is a tricky process. We scoured the web to find sources to help in ensuring you and your family are eating the healthiest food available.
Non-GMO Project – A non-profit organization dedicated to getting non-GMO foods labeled at your local grocery store. They also have a handy list of non-GMO restaurants and foods.
Farm Aid – Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land. Dave Matthews joined the Farm Aid Board of Directors in 2001. Farm Aid has raised more than $43 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture. Farm Aid is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep family farmers on their land, often fighting Monsanto, basically the GMO giant, forcing many farmers off their land for not using their GMO seeds or for GMO seeds growing on their land by accident.
Baker Creek Seeds – Unfortunately, many of the seeds for a home gardener available at a local garden store are GMO. Rare Seeds pride themselves on only selling non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated and non-patented seeds. They offer over 1450 fine varieties, many of them very hard-to-find, from over 70 countries. This part we really like – many of Baker Creek Seed’s varieties are collected from their travels abroad!
Photos courtesy of Winvian.