Listening to Tina Conte of Garden to Garnish in Hanson passionately describe her upcoming cooking classes and farm-to-table dinners, I couldn’t help but get excited myself. During her career as a chef at great Boston restaurants such as No. 9 Park and Craigie Street Bistro, Tina learned that seasonal, local ingredients are at the heart of every great dish. Through Garden to Garnish, her goal is to bring people back to cooking whole foods and to inspire families to eat dinner together at the table. And as more and more busy families find themselves trading sit-down dinners for meals eaten on the go, Tina’s goal couldn’t be more timely.
In August 2011, Tina purchased a rustic house and adjacent barn on East Washington Street in Hanson. She has since completed renovations to create a sunlit open kitchen featuring a large island workspace for cooking classes and an adjoining dining area that once functioned as a three-season porch. Outdoors, a gnarled and leafless apple tree is a solitary reminder of the apple orchard that once dominated the property. Now, a chicken coop and a 100-square-foot garden, where cooking students can harvest produce for their meals, bask in the sun. A 17-by-40-foot greenhouse will be raised at the rear of the property for growing greens and other produce in the winter months, and a good portion of the remaining unused land will be fenced in to accommodate a goat herd. In the barn, Tina plans to have a farm stand as well as a studio for pottery classes, and a smaller section off to the side is slated to become a cleaning room for goat cheese.
The winter lineup of Garden to Garnish’s cooking classes will feature comfort foods such as braises and pot pies as well as gluten-free cooking. The classes typically run two to three hours to give the students the opportunity to hang out and have fun. “If it’s not fun, people won’t want to cook,” said Tina. A complete list of classes and events can be found on Garden to Garnish’s website and Facebook page.
Garden To Garnish
321 East Washington Street
Hanson, MA 02341
Kate Strassel is a freelance writer and editor who is always on the hunt for new opportunities to live and eat locally. She lives in East Bridgewater with her husband and two children.