LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Apr. 22, 2016 — Guests gliding through the Epcot greenhouses while experiencing the Living with the Land attraction are often amazed at the innovative plant-growing techniques used by Disney’s Agricultural Sciences team.
Many of these guests are also surprised to discover that several crops from the attraction are used as ingredients at select restaurants at Walt Disney World Resort. Chefs at locations including Garden Grill and Le Cellier use a variety of produce harvested by Cast Members at The Land – from tomatoes and cucumbers to radishes and edible flowers.
“We have so many creative chefs, and that helps tremendously in building this collaboration,” Agricultural Sciences manager Yong Huang said. “This has been a win-win-win situation for us, the chefs and our Guests.”
Chef Michael Gonsalves, who works at Artist Point in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, uses several herbs and vegetables grown at The Land while altering his dishes based on what is seasonally available. A staple of the location’s menu is the Land Greens Salad, an item made almost entirely from ingredients grown in the Epcot greenhouses.
“It’s very exciting,” Gonsalves said. “The Land brings us a different delivery every day. It’s kind of like being a child on Christmas. The team and I get to open the boxes, see what’s in there and then get ready to prepare and conceptualize the menu for that service.”
The Land also shares its produce with the Animals, Science & Environment animal care team to use as special treats and enrichment for animals throughout Walt Disney World Resort. Both partnerships help extend the attraction’s story and message of protecting our environment well beyond the glass walls of the pavilion.
“What we do here at The Land is really unique,” said Agricultural Sciences horticulturist and student program manager Les Frey, who last year received the Walt Disney Imagineering Sustainability Award. “It’s just awesome to be able to share this with the Guests and show them all of the science and technology that goes into getting food to their table.”