Dragon Tongue arugula, Rangpur limes, Buddha’s Hand citron…these are just a few of the 150 variety of organic fruits and vegetables produced by the Farm at Castle Hot Springs. Resident Agronomist Ian Beger and farmer David Bullock have teamed up with Castle Hot Springs Executive Chef Chris Brugman to create a garden of palatable pleasures.
Beger is a University of Arizona graduate with a degree in Controlled Environmental Agriculture. He is a fifth generation Arizonan and the great great Grandson of Richard E. Sloan, the last Arizona territorial Governor before statehood in 1912. With that, Beger shares a history with Nathan Oakes Murphy, the Arizona territorial Governor, who lived and managed the territory from Castle Hot Springs in 1898 through 1902. Beger cheerfully states, “We truly have something special here. With the exceptional growing climate and the fields and greenhouse irrigated directly with the mineral rich natural hot spring water, the sky is the limit to what will be created in Chris’s kitchen.”
“Hyper-seasonality” is how Chef Brugman describes the farm and Restaurant at Castle Hot Springs. “It is not just the varieties that we are growing, but the time that we have to harvest them. Some of the plants will have to flower so we can gather the delicious floret buds, others we will pick when they are still green.”
Christopher Brugman is one of the rising stars on the Arizona culinary scene. A recipient of the Grand Diplome’ of Le Cordon Bleu and a disciple of the celebrated Chef Charles Wiley, Brugman and Wiley opened Hearth 61 at Westroc’s Mountain Shadows in Paradise Valley, AZ. Brugman has also worked with Gordon Ramsey and Michelin-starred chef David LeFevre.
Beger and Brugman are also teaming up to identify some of the 30 plus varieties of heirloom tomatoes to blend a Castle Hot Springs Bloody Mary mix. In addition to the heterogeneous aspects of The Restaurant at Castle Hot Springs, mixology and spirits will have a special place in the Lodge lounge and poolside. Over 33 varieties of citrus trees are on property that will produce a mélange of mixers.
The term “Farm to Table” has been far too commonplace. “Harvest of the Day” is the mantra at Castle Hot Springs. Guests of the resort will have the opportunity to tour the farm and pick that evening’s menu with Ian and David, as well as experience interactive “lunch and learns” with Chef Brugman.