Garden to Kitchen: At Home with Jenni Kayne

Jenni Kayne has turned living well into a thriving business. Not only does her namesake fashion line embody effortless luxury and California cool, but she recently launched a beautiful website highlighting her passion for style, healthy living and travel. The site – named Rip + Tan for her two small children – is chock full of thoughtfully compiled shopping sourcebooks and guides on everything from non-toxic laundry essentials to how to clean out your pantry. Among the pieces we love most is her post on building an edible garden. Along with the help of Edible Gardens LA’s Lauri Kranz, Jenni has turned her sunny front yard into a fully functioning urban farmscape that feeds her family (her hubby recently became a vegan), teaches her kiddos the importance of patience and totally inspires us to get our hands dirty! We stopped by her Beverly Hills abode to check out her veggie beds and chic gardening garb – proof that you don’t have to have a green thumb to become a planting pro!

The Chalkboard Mag: What was your experience gardening before you met Lauri and planted your first box?

Jenni Kayne: “I had very little experience in the garden pre-Lauri.  I loved the idea of planting herbs and different things in the garden, but I didn’t know the first thing about doing it properly or maintaining it. All the herbs I planted died or were leggy and out of control.”

TCM: Did you always have a green thumb? What inspired you to build an edible garden at your house?

JK: “No! Lauri has taught me so much and helps me with the garden every other week to make sure everything is happy and thriving.  I eat very healthily and love entertaining and cooking at home.  Having our own garden just felt like the next step.”

TCM: What is the best part of having a home garden?

JK: “Tending to it with Tanner and eating a fresh harvest that we just picked for dinner.  Nothing tastes better than food grown in our garden.”

TCM: What lessons do you feel your kids have learned from gardening?

JK: “Tanner has learned so much from having our garden. He tries things we harvested that he never would have before.  Broccoli – or “trees”, as he calls them – are now his favorite vegetables and he loves to pick them with me.  I think he is learning responsibility by helping me take care of the garden and I think it is laying down a great foundation for his overall health and nutrition.”

TCM: How has having an edible garden changed your attitude towards food and cooking?

JK: “We love eating at home, but it has helped us eat more seasonally.  My husband has been a vegan for the last three months and I am a vegetarian, so having the garden has really helped us enjoy everything we eat and we don’t feel like we are missing out on anything.”

TCM: What are some of your favorite things to make that include your edible garden ingredients?

JK: “Pamela‘s quinoa with spinach, dill and mint and Pamela‘s kale salad.  I also love a garden frittata, where we make frittata with all the different veggies from our garden and some goat or sheep cheese.”

TCM: How has having an edible garden changed the way you and your kids/husband eat?

JK: “We eat plant-based diets and mostly from our own garden, which is so amazing.”

TCM: What would you say to someone who is on the fence about getting into planting their first edible garden?

JK: “It’s the best thing we ever did.  Richard was on the fence about it because he wanted a big grassy yard for the kids to play in and he loves it as much as I do.  I would like to add onto it eventually because I can’t get enough.  It’s such a great way to live and spend time with your family all together.  All my friends that have gardens in their homes are thrilled.”

TCM: What’s the most surprising thing about having an edible garden?

JK: “Based on my previous history gardening unsuccessfully, I was surprised by how quickly our garden took off and how it’s thriving.  Having a garden is really a science and that is where Lauri comes in – she knows so much about how to do it properly and I was really surprised by how well ours came out.  Everything is organic and natural and our broccoli is huge and so yummy…”

TCM: You have the most amazing gardening accessories and booties—what are some of your favorite places to shop and get goods associated with the garden? Any great gift ideas for people who have family members or friends who love to garden?

JK: “My all time favorite gardening tools are in a post I did on planting my garden for Rip + Tan, plus I love these printed accessories and these leather handmade boots from Beatrice Valenzuela.”

TCM: You honestly seem like you can do it all—what are you tips for balancing work, family, relationships, friendships, etc?

JK: “Balance!  I strive for balance but don’t even know what that means.  I try to be the best working mom I can be and still take time for myself so I am happy and inspired.  I rely on my weekly acupuncture and manicures and dates with my husband!  I try to stay in the moment as much as I can, so when I am with my kids, I’m with my kids, etc.”

TCM: We hear your whole office is going vegan…can you tell us a little bit about that and how it started or how it’s going?

JK: “Yes!  I am so excited.  I call myself 80% vegan, Richard is 100%…  I eat a little cheese and eggs but not everyday. A little over three months ago, Richard and I watched Forks Over Knives and it changed the way we thought about food.  I am so into eating healthily, organic, seasonally, but after watching the movie, we decided to totally give up animal protein.  We both feel better and it helped me lose all my baby weight.  My office saw me skinny and happy and preaching about the health benefits and thought it would be fun to try it… They are doing great!  We are all mostly gluten-free, as well!”

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