In St Louis City, Paul Hamilton (owner of Eleven Eleven Mississippi, Vin de Set, PW Pizza, The Malt House Cellar, Grand Petite Market, and 21st Street Brewers Bar) has started a Tower to Table dinner program featuring a tour of Hamilton Farms (and their 61 Tower Farms) with dinner at either Eleven Eleven Mississippi or Vin de Set. I was able to attend this past week with dinner at Eleven Eleven Mississippi.
The tour was held at Hamilton Farms located on Chouteau Ave in St Louis city, across the street from the building housing PW Pizza, Vin de Set, and Grand Petite Market. This is an urban setting just south of downtown St Louis. Walking in, there are Tower Gardens lining both walls in 2 rows each, for a total of 61 towers.
The middle area is the farmer’s work area, where he had some seedlings started for future growing in the towers. Hamilton Farms also includes a traditional garden across the street where they grow tomatoes, carrots, and other root vegetables. They also have a beehive and chickens on the farm to provide fresh produce, eggs, and honey to their restaurants and brewery.
Hamilton Farms employs one farmer, who led our tour and explained how the aeroponic towers worked. The Tower Farms used by Hamilton Farms are very similar to the Tower Gardens available residentially, except the Tower Farms have 11 pods, which can hold a total of 44 plants per tower. Tower Gardens can hold 7 pods, for a total of 28 plants per tower. The Tower Farms are also able to be connected to a water source for continual replenishment of the basin.
The towers at Hamilton Farms were currently growing peppers, kale, lemongrass, lemon bomb, basil, and various lettuces. With the aeroponic growing system, there is no soil for weeds to grow and plants can grow all year within the greenhouse. The plants in the Tower Farms also grow quicker and larger than traditionally grown plants.
When we arrived at Eleven Eleven Mississippi, they had our table ready with menus for the evening tucked into our napkins. Dinner was paired with an optional 2 course wine pairing. We started with the Goat Cheese Stuffed Banana Pepper over a bed of garden greens, candied walnuts and a basil vinaigrette. I would not normally eat peppers, but I decided to at least try everything on the menu. I ended up eating the entire pepper. It was a great little starter, similar to a salad course.
The second course was a Hickory Smoked Salmon with sauteed sorrel, patty pan squash, grilled fennel, with a lemon drop-champagne butter. This was my favorite course! Sauteed sorrel was very similar to a sauteed spinach or kale. The farmer on the tour had forewarned us that lemon drop was going to be used in the evening’s meal and that it’s commonly used to numb the mouth. Fortunately, we did not encounter any numbing of the mouth.
The third course was a Roasted Duck Breast with russian blue potato puree, wilted tuscan kale, sun gold tomato-mint relist and pomegranate molasses. Again, tomatoes are not a vegetable that I have learned to like, but I did try it. They were very sweet, and one did the trick for me. The potato puree tasted like mashed potatoes blended until very smooth. Overall, a very delicious dish.
Upcoming Tower to Table Events
I would highly recommend the Tower to Table dinner and tour to anyone in or visiting St Louis. It’s very reasonably priced, and you get very high quality food.
Tower To Table Dinners will be offered at Vin de Set August 2nd and September 6th. Limited space available. Reservations are required. Please call 314-241-8989. They will also be offered at Eleven Eleven Mississippi August 16th and September 20th. Limited space available. Reservations are required. Please call 314-241-9999.
Aeroponic Tower Garden Tour (optional) 6pm located at 2101 Chouteau Ave, dinner 6:45 pm, three- course dinner $29.99 plus tax & gratuity. Optional two-course wine pairing $11.99 plus tax & gratuity.
More on Tower Gardens
We have 3 Tower Gardens growing at our home right now. They are full of green beans, kale, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, strawberries, brussel sprouts, parsley, and marigolds. They are really easy to care for, only requiring upkeep about once a week to refill the water. As mentioned above, there is no weeding! The towers run on a timer where they get water pumped up to the roots for 15 minutes, then rest for 15-45 minutes depending on the heat and type of plants. You can find out more at the Tower Garden website.