Azalea Inn & Villas (Savannah, Georgia Bed and Breakfast, Vacation Rentals and Event Facility)
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Sufferin’ Succotash! from our Garden’s Bounty

June 22, 2011 by Teresa Jacobson

Garden of Eating's Succotash

Sufferin’ Succotash!” was the catch phrase of Sylvester the Cat, a Looney Tunes character from my childhood.  Actually, he lisped “Thufferin Thuccotash” often in his quest to capture “Tweety Bird” of “I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat” fame.   So what does that have to do with Azalea Inn and Gardens?  Well, our Garden’s bounty is overflowing with cherry tomatoes, green peppers, yellow and purple bush beans, eggplant and okra right now and the garden pickings were the inspiration for our take on a Deep South favorite – Succotash.

Jake has always loved the okra and tomatoes served at Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House and he cajoled me into doing “something” with all the tomatoes and the just perfect sized okra.  He said he would take it any way I fixed it and I am partial to the combination of baby limas, corn, tomatoes and okra, so… why not add whatever the garden was offering up?

Throwing a few slices of bacon into the skillet to render, I set about chopping a medium onion and two cloves of garlic, seeded and chopped a small jalapeno, then ran down to the garden to pick okra, tomatoes, green peppers, and eggplant to throw into the mix.  While the onion softened in the bacon rendering, I sliced the okra, chopped one green pepper and one tiny eggplant to add to the cornucopia of veggies to come and ran back down to the garden to finish off the crop of beans.  Once the onions were softened and the garlic lightly browned, I threw in a bag of frozen corn (eh-gads, its okay!), and bag of frozen baby limas.  Next came the cherry tomatoes, okra, green pepper and eggplant, threw in the bush beans snipped and cut in half and gently cooked the conconction for about 7 to 10 minutes.  Taste tests indicated a need for salt and pepper and with a small chiffonade of basil sprinkled on top, we were ready to eat!  Served along side a simply grilled rib-eye steak it was easy to get Jake to commit to another 9 years with me!

I grew up in a large family, so it was no surprise that I had leftovers – lots of leftovers.  This morning I added a bit of raspberry wine vinegar to the succotash and with Jake’s tastebuds declaring it a winner have incorporated it into tonight’s appetizers which our guests will enjoy – served cold on  chips – a Salsa Succotash.

Azalea Inn and Gardens takes the locavore route to all things served at the inn – join us this summer for a taste of home-grown cantaloupe and Galia melons, pickled cucumbers, tomatoes served a dozen ways and the refreshing courtyard pool with waterfall creating a perfect respite in the warmth of a Savannah summer.   Book online or call us at 800-582-3823 today to reserve your spot at our “farm table” in historic Savannah, Georgia’s best bed and breakfast!

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Azalea Inn Creates “Mini-Farm” in the Heart of Savannah, GA

June 12, 2011 by Teresa Jacobson

Historic Savannah gardensGuests and Savannah’s SAFE Shelter benefit from this downtown Savannah Inn’s harvest

Savannah, GA – Azalea Inn & Gardens brings on the greens and encourages you to leave the blues behind. Who’d imagine an inn located in a quiet historic urban neighborhood in Savannah, GA would support their own mini-farm? But with astute planning from Adam Mentzer, passionate local farmer and owner of Adam’s Farm, the bounty is blooming at Azalea Inn and Gardens.  Knowing that her mini-farm would produce beyond the needs of the guests, Azalea Inn & Gardens owner, Teresa Jacobson, set out to find a place where needy recipients could benefit from the garden.  Having had friends benefit from the help of shelters for abused victims, Jacobson settled on the Savannah Area Family Emergency (SAFE) Shelter for abused people to receive produce from her garden. Today, both Mentzer and Jacobson are supplying the shelter’s clients with excess fresh-grown food from their garden while teaching graduates of the SAFE Shelter program how a small-space garden can produce big benefits.

The Azalea Inn & Gardens has a long history of gardening fame. Their award-winning flower gardens have received media accolades for years.  Yet never one to settle for status quo, Teresa Jacobson decided she wanted a bigger garden in 2011 when she was motivated by a “Meet Your Maker” dinner (where local artisans’ and growers’ produce, cheeses, meats were showcased.)  It was here she made the acquaintance of local farmer Adam Mentzer, and soon the concept of the Azalea Inn mini-farm developed.  While skeptical at first at what could be accomplished on a small lot in downtown Savannah, Mentzer refused to be daunted, knowing raised beds and container gardens could produce plenty.  What followed was phenomenal:  [nggallery id=20]

The list of varieties of herbs and produce growing in the mini-farm is astounding.  Careful planning has allowed a long list of varieties to be grown, the likes of which you’d expect to find on a ten acre rural Georgia farm, including:

Hybrid Squash 8-Ball               Hybrid Melon Galia                Hybrid Melon Athena

Gourd Cucuzzi Snake               Tomato Amana Orange          Hybrid Tomato Supersweet

Okra Clemson Spineless         Gourd Dipper Long Handled   Hybrid Cucumber Tasty Green

Hybrid Tomato Morning Light                                                Hybrid Tomato Brandymaster Pink

Tomato Cherokee Purple        Hybrid Pepper Anastar           Hybrid Pepper Aristocrat

Hybrid Zucchini Squash           Kentucky Blue Pole Bean        Yellow Bush Bean

Purple Bush Bean                    Fennel Zefa Fino                     Swiss Chard Magenta Sunset

Arugula                                   Daikon Radish Miyashige       Hybrid Turnip Scarlet Queen Red Stems

Greens Mache                                    Strawberries Sequoia              Strawberries Quinalt

Eggplant Black Beauty                        Eggplant Ichiban

Herbs:

Rosemary                                Oregano                                  Stevia

Texas Terragon                       Onion Chives                           Lemon Balm

Curled Parsley                         Cilantro                                   Potpourri Lavender

Spearmint                               Peppermint                             Rosemary

Fernleaf Dill                            Spicy Globe basil                     Thai Basil

Lemon Basil                            Opal Basil                                Sweet Basil

“I’m not sure what I’m more excited about,” smiled Teresa Jacobson when asked about the new mini-farm, “all of this glorious produce and herbs, my new partnership with Adam or being able to offer those who’ve had to leave everything behind the taste of freshness from my garden,” finished Jacobson.  The response from the SAFE Shelter staff and clients has included an outpouring of gratitude.

While the focus has always been on locavore cuisine at the Azalea Inn & Gardens, the new mini-farm will bring the property even closer to a totally sustainable model.  Food scraps will be composted in 80-gallon Earth Machine compost bins and rainwater for watering plants is collected in 55 gallon cisterns, allowing nature’s bounty to be reused to create healthier plants and a healthier planet. Additionally, low-volume irrigation and low volume water baths are utilized outside and in.  At Azalea Inn, Earth Day is every day.

Inside, cotton/bamboo blend towels delight guests with their soft and eco-friendly texture. All lighting utilizes energy-saving CFL bulbs and plastic bottles for bath amenities have been replaced with dispensers for high quality eco-friendly shampoos, shower gels and conditioners.  Guests are given the option to re-use towels to cut down on unnecessary detergents and energy use and as many papers and plastics as possible are recycled.

The décor of the inn emphasizes nature, and rooms have been designed to allow as much natural light as possible.  Most rooms feature private balconies or patios allowing guests to “bring the outdoors in”.

About Azalea Inn

Deliciously relaxing and lighthearted, the Azalea Inn and Gardens is a casually elegant Savannah bed and breakfast mansion offering vintage and award-winning gardens and its new mini-farm, historic 19th century architecture (complete with soulful imperfections) and a scrumptious, new and traditional southern cuisine breakfast. A hidden garden courtyard pool, modern comforts and free on-site parking sets Azalea Inn & Gardens apart and makes staying here easy and relaxing. Located in the Historic Landmark District of Savannah on brick-cobbled Huntingdon Street near Forsyth Park (Savannah’s central park), the inn’s atmosphere is characterized by fun, with an adventurous and decidedly eco-friendly focus. Yet the ultimate allure of this daffodil-colored Queen Anne Italianate inn is its owner’s 21st century, whimsical and outgoing personality. You’ll arrive ready for a break and leave with a new great friend.

For those seeking a green urban refuge, the Azalea Inn & Gardens is a delight.  Learn more at www.azaleainn.com.

These and other photos available in high-res from Azalea Inn.  Misty DeBlasio photos

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