Chefs' Row--one of five exhibits in the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's summer exhibition, "Powerhouse Plants"--is like the Hollywood Walk of Fame for local chefs, except that these celebs are venerated by veggies rather than stars. A bed of kohlrabi marks Mike Phillips of the Craftsman. Brenda Langton of Spoonriver is recognized with eggplant, and okra celebrates Öm's Raghavan Iyer. A few beds away, bottle gourds signify Tammy Wong of Rainbow Chinese, and tomatoes denote The Splendid Table host Lynne Rossetto Kasper. In return for the honor, each chef provides recipes with their representative crop, from Phillips' kohlrabi olive oil puree to Wong's bottle gourd stir-fry.
"Powerhouse Plants," which runs now through October, showcases plants that, well, power--our bodies and minds as well as our cars and homes. Take Gardens of 'Eatin, where you'll learn how to sneak veggies and herbs into your flowerbeds and get a taste of antioxidant superfoods like broccoli, blueberries, and dark chocolate. Meanwhile, at Veggies-by-the-Yard, you'll discover how to pack a season's worth of plantings into a 4 x 12-foot bed. Bio-Energized demonstrates how scientists, growers, and businesses are reinventing energy through horticulture (and for the not-so-science-minded, it also features a vintage tractor driven by a plant man!) Finally, Amazing Art showcases the works of five local artists and landscape designers that celebrate the link between people and plants.
Between the celebrity chefs, free recipes, and taste tests, who needs Hollywood and Vine? Instead, head to Chaska for plants with a punch.