Woodfield Provides On-Site Herb Garden; Embraces New Trend

Woodfield Country Club is tapping into a national trend of incorporating food and health into community living.

Woodfield Country Club is tapping into a national trend of incorporating food and health into community living.

Woodfield Country Club is “walking the walk.” Literally.

With a focus on healthy living that is reflected by a club environment featuring workout facilities, spa, golf and tennis, this community continues to take this philosophy to the dining rooms and to expanded activities.

Woodfield’s herbal garden and “Nature Walk” have piqued the interest of residents who want to learn about healthy eating and Florida fauna and wildlife.

“This has been of great interest to our residents, their children, and friends,” said Eben Molloy, General Manager of Woodfield Country Club. “In addition to educating people on various ingredients to healthy meals, the nature walk has also provided a fascinating way to exercise.”

The English-style herb garden opened in 2012 and is modeled after a Formal Renaissance Kitchen Garden. The Woodfield landscaping team harvests the produce and then turns it over to the country club culinary team which then incorporates it into meals on the menu. The harvests throughout the year include corn, okra, egg plant, heirloom tomatoes, peppers, radishes, basil, parsley, dill, coconuts, lemon grass, and pomegranate, to name a few. These plants are nurtured in the elaborate Woodfield greenhouse prior to planting.

“Our goal was to educate our residents on indigenous herbs, fruits, and vegetables,” said Bart Messing, Woodfield Executive Chef. “It has been a lot of fun and residents are enjoying having these items incorporated into many of our main entrees, appetizers and salads. After all, they come directly from our backyard.”

The herb garden is located to the rear of the main clubhouse and provides unique landscaping and views from the expansive patio. These efforts were recently sited with the Florida Nursery Growers & Landscape Association 2012 Award for Excellence.

“Many parents appreciate the efforts of our landscaping team because the garden gives their children an opportunity to learn about produce,” said Molloy. “It really comes to life when they see these items on our menu.”

The English Herb Garden is the first stop on a multi-stop nature walk that further educates strollers as they get exercise during the 2,293 step tour that takes approximately 45 minutes.

“Our goal was to create an informative and educational opportunity that incorporates an exercise regimen,” said Molloy. “Here at Woodfield, we continually introduce new types of healthy activities that enhance the lifestyle. This has been quite successful based on the numbers of people we see strolling through the gardens along the nature walk.”

The nature walk features a meandering self-guided tour that winds its way around the main clubhouse area and along the lake and sports areas.

The Nature Walk highlights include:

·        Thai Garden: An elaborate display of plants and flowers native to Thailand. It includes a display of orchids, native vegetation, rock elements, bamboo, and even the Cananga Odorata, which produces the fragrance in Chanel No. 5 perfume.

·        Fruit Trees: Featuring a wide range of exotic fruits from Malaysia, East Indies, Bangladesh, China, South America, and Mexico. If you’re a rum fan, you might be familiar with the aroma from the Pimenta Diocia, the spice used in Captain Morgan Rum.

·        Flowering Plants: Throughout the walk, strollers will be treated to a wide range of flowering plants, including golden trumpets, purple glory, plumeria (plants used to make Hawaiian leis), and many more.

·        Lakeside Wildlife: Along the lake there are many species of Florida wildlife including water turkey, great blue heron, limpkin, cormorant, and great egret.

·        Koi Pond: Located adjacent to the main clubhouse, this pond is stocked with colorful koi of varying colors.

·        Children’s Butterfly Garden: One of the highlights of the Nature Walk, the butterfly garden is a popular stop for adults and children alike. The combination of nectar plants, lime trees, and dill attracts a wide range of butterflies.

“We’ve been successful in providing a unique experience for our residents,” added Molloy. “It combines nutritional and wildlife education that has been incorporated into an entertaining and enjoyable exercise program.

“The other important aspect of the garden and nature walk is that it is part of our  “going green” initiative. In addition to using the herbs and vegetables on our menu, we also use fresh cut flowers from the nature walk to decorate the club.”