The Hilton Orlando recently invited us to take a tour of Lake Meadow Naturals farm in nearby Ocoee, Fla. The reason for the visit? To put their money where their mouth is. It’s easy for a restaurant to say their food is farm fresh. It’s another to actually prove it.
Lake Meadow Naturals provides many local restaurants with sustainable natural foods that are free of pesticides and additives. With society being more and more health conscious, it’s becoming popular for restaurants to seek out sustainable and local healthy foods.
Executive Chef Louis Martorano helps with the menus at many Hilton hotels and of course at Hilton Orlando’s conventions and restaurants, including their signature spot, Spencer’s Steak and Chops. The level of service and quality of food is very important to Chef Louis and his staff.
Our tour was led by Farmer Dale Volkert. He and his partner not only run the farm, but they live there too.
A view of the farm from the residence.
A look at some newly hatched guineafowl chicks. They keep them on the farm because they love to eat insects, so they’re a natural form of pest control. Lake Meadow Naturals is primarily an egg farm although they do raise turkeys and chickens for their meat. But no killing is done on the farm. All of their animals are shipped other places for processing and all of the animals are raised naturally and cruelty-free.
As you can see, all the hens are cage free.
And they’re very curious about new visitors.
The hens don’t even have to stay in the barn. They have a large field to roam around in, mixed in with other farm animals, including a donkey, who helps keep the wild coyotes away.
Everything has to be natural at the farm. Even the feed is locally ground with no fillers and their egg cartons are produced locally from recycled Orlando newsprint.
All of the different types of eggs are sorted and marked, noting their expected hatch date.
A light is used to see inside the eggs and check on their hatching progress.
The unfertilized eggs are sorted and packed, ready for your next omelet at the Hilton Orlando.
This coop is for their many exotic birds.
You can even buy green eggs at Lake Meadow Naturals farm.
Another local food made and sold at the farm is fresh honey.
Unfortunately many dairy farms destroy male cows as soon as they’re born. Lake Meadow Naturals rescued this calf from being killed.
The farm is open to the public Monday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Their Farm Store offers cage free chicken and duck eggs, grass fed beef, grass fed goat, berkshire pork, honey, fresh herbs and more. Tours are also available. For more information, visit lakemeadownaturals.com.
For more information on the Hilton Orlando and their dining options, visit thehiltonorlando.com.