MONTALTO IS HOME TO ONE OF VICTORIA’S LARGEST AND OLDEST KITCHEN GARDENS
The gardens were originally designed by the highly respected landscape architect Andrew Laidlaw, best known for his work at Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. A trusted friend of the Mitchell family, Andrew helped Wendy design and plan the original Piazza gardens in 2002, now affectionately known as Wendy’s Garden.
Julie has been an important part of the Montalto team for the last 20 years, beginning her time in our vineyards and moving into our produce gardens seven years ago to assist Wendy Mitchell on the daily running of our gardens. She took over the reins five years ago, expanding our productive growing areas to just over three acres and spanning our 80-acre property. Julie runs our produce gardens and cares for our bees, sheep, chickens and goats.
Her holistic and organic approach to farming sees the important integration of livestock, our need to grow and save heirloom vegetables and the composting of all green and brown waste which is kept on-farm and used to enrich our soils. Our produce is grown using organic principles and from heirloom seeds saved each year. It feeds off handmade compost, it’s pollinated by our own bees and the produce is prepared and served on the same day it is harvested.
Our gardens are both engaging and inspirational and the perfect platform for Julie to educate chefs and visitors about the importance of a locally grown, sustainable food system, the importance of keeping heirloom vegetables grown in our gardens and the security which comes with it.
We’ve always carefully preserved what we weren’t able to use on the day of harvest. This has led to some outstanding pantry items over the years including permanent items like our much-loved olives and olive oils, along with limited edition seasonal products, informed by the abundance of the kitchen garden harvests. We’ve loved using these products in our kitchens and have adored hearing how much our guests have enjoyed them in their homes too.
As our gardens continue to expand, grow and flourish, this has allowed us the unique opportunity to explore the introduction of a permanent pantry collection which showcases the very best of our estate-grown produce.
In order to ensure our exceptional produce was handled with the utmost care and skill, we’ve partnered with local company, Mumma Made (who specialises in small-run pickles and preserves), to create our brand new pantry collection.
The Montalto Estate Gardens provide our kitchens with an abundance of incredible produce throughout the year. Our harvest calendar is a seasonal guide to what you can expect to see on our menus throughout the year in The Restaurant and The Piazza.
Tamarillos, Figs, apples, quince, Autumn raspberries, pumpkins, rainbow chard, last of the beans, last of the zucchini, last of the cucumbers, basil, tomatoes, eggplant, chillies, rhubarb, tomatoes, salad greens, beetroot, amaranth, carrots, radishes, garlic chives.
Usually a bit of a hungry gap time, but, carrots, radish, mustard greens, beetroot, salad mix, kiwifruit (usually a crate), olives, rhubarb, last of the figs, last of the apples, feijoas, guavas.
Kales, last of the broccoli, last of the cauliflower, leeks, last of the radicchio, rainbow chard, carrots, radish, turnips, beetroot, broad bean tips, broad beans, salad mix, mustard greens, citrus, peas, snow peas.