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Bok Tower Gardens Outdoor Kitchen & Edible Garden Opens

By: Jessica Roberts

Bok Tower Gardens announces the opening of the all new Outdoor Kitchen and Edible Garden on Saturday, April 9th at 9:00 a.m.

Located
adjacent to the Visitors Center, this new area offers a modern design in
harmony with the landscape and allows guests to enjoy a celebration of fresh
food and culinary programming. The opening of this much anticipated area is
part of the largest capital expansion campaign ever undertaken by the Gardens
in its 87-year history.

Bok Tower Gardens Classroom

Bok Tower Gardens Classroom

In
addition to the Outdoor Kitchen and Edible Garden, this new area also features
the Cindy and JD Alexander Discovery Center complete with an indoor classroom
and restrooms. The entire project utilized natural ventilation and design
orientation and incorporated eco-friendly building materials including
reclaimed cypress wood, Florida keystone, and LED lighting. Both the Kitchen
and Cindy and JD Alexander Discovery Center design was created by Lake/Flato
Architects of San Antonio, Texas and offers a picturesque spot for guests to
discover the joy of edible gardening. The Kitchen is 6,400 square feet and
features a wood fired Belgard brick oven, Fire Magic grill, Fire Magic cook top
and range, True Refrigerator and freezer drawers, a unique fire pit, and other
top of the line kitchen appliances. Festive café string lights, ceiling fans
and vine trellises make the kitchen functional, beautiful and intimate despite
its large size. A center island with granite countertop provides more than 15
feet of space for chef demonstrations.

Bok Tower Gardens Outdoor Kitchen

Bok Tower Gardens Outdoor Kitchen

More
than $1.5 million dollars was raised to build the Kitchen, Gardens and Cindy
and JD Alexander Discovery Center through an outpouring of individual gifts,
corporate partnership with Danielle Fence and Outdoor Living, and support from
the local business community. Construction took over 13 months to complete and
the expansion adds nearly one acre of delicious food experiences for guests to
enjoy.

Currently
bursting with a bounty of late spring produce including kohlrabi, bok choy,
arugula, broccoli, tomatoes, cilantro, and rosemary, the Edible Garden
surrounds the Outdoor Kitchen and was designed by famed landscape architect
Thomas Woltz and his firm Nelson Byrd Woltz. The Edible Garden also features a
fruit orchard, grape arbors, and raised beds for herbs and vegetables. This
area will be a hub of horticultural and culinary activity and will showcase
lifestyle gardening and the culinary arts. The Edible Garden also complements
the Gardens’ new educational partnership with University of Florida Institute
of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) which develops garden and wellness
programs for schools and communities throughout the state.

“The
opening of the Outdoor Kitchen and Edible Garden is just a taste of the
excitement to come as Bok Tower Gardens completes our vision for the future,”
said Gardens’ president David Price. “We’re making changes, without changing
the spirit of Gardens our members and guests have grown to love,” he continued.
“Guests will be inspired to bring the joy of edible gardening to their
backyards and experience a greater connection to their food,” Price said.

“The
Outdoor Kitchen and Edible Garden is the achievement of our Preserve the
Legacy, Steward the Future Campaign and we are looking forward to the final
installment of this vision later in September with the opening of the
children’s garden,” said Joan Thomas, director of philanthropy for the Gardens.
“We continue to be thankful for the generosity of our members and donors who
have made this expansion possible,” Thomas said.

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