California\r\nis entering its fourth consecutive year of an extreme and historic drought. California natives and our visitors are\r\nwitnessing, first hand, the effects of the drought. With even more strict water\r\nusage cutbacks and requirements, we all have growing concerns for our state's welfare. One of the more barren areas of Southern California, the Inland\r\nEmpire, has been deeply affected by this severe drought and we are taking matters\r\ninto our own hands at Ayres Hotels!\r\n\r\nCarlos Mendoza, General Manager at Ayres\r\nSuites at the Ontario Mills Mall, felt it was his team’s responsibility to\r\ntake matters into their own hands and take advantage of current preservation\r\nmethods our fellow Californians are utilizing. In an attempt to remedy the\r\neffects this drought has imposed on our Golden State, Carlos and his team\r\npromptly removed all of the grass on the north side of the property and planted\r\nan herb garden in October 2014. The herb garden was an absolute hit amongst our\r\nteam members who were lucky enough to enjoy the fresh herbs with their\r\nThanksgiving luncheon! Our team members aren't the only ones taking pleasure in\r\nthe farm-to-table freshness. That's right, our phenomenal guests have even had\r\nthe opportunity to taste (and smell) the difference of our fresh herbs and spices! During the Fall of 2014, guests at Ayres Suites may have noticed the aromatic smell of fresh potpourri throughout our grounds. Aromas such as jasmine, sage, lavender, and rosemary freshened our luxurious lobby, public areas, and hallways. With the constant hustle and bustle in Southern California, particularly the Ontario area, it is vital to maintain a healthy level of stress. Our team has noticed a difference in their stress levels as well as our busy guests. Not only are the scents relaxing, the tranquil garden is comprised of drought friendly herbs and spices. It is also a tremendous point of interest for our guests and team members, alike. Having a serene area to take in the birds chirping and the beautiful California weather has made quite the difference in Ontario! Along with the herbs and spices, Carlos and his team continued to remove the grass throughout the property, adding various fruits and vegetables. To name a few: goji berries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, various chile peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, green beans, root vegetable turnips, parsnips, beets, and dragon fruit. With the fresh produce, our team was able to prepare a succulent dish of zucchini blossoms and fresh salsa quesadilla. Now that we have your mouth watering we might add that they also prepared a stir fry complete with zucchini, green beans, thai basil, and ghost peppers. This was an absolute hit amongst our team!It is not out of the ordinary to see our team members meeting as a group for lunch to discuss their own home gardens, recipe ideas, the benefits of eating healthy, and gardening tips. There is only one rule for the team at lunch, food and garden talk only! Carlos and his team have even held impromptu potluck lunches utilizing the fresh produce from their gardens at home as well as at the hotel. Our team hopes our guests notice the difference in our authentic fresh produce. Carlos and his team plan to grow even more in the future so that our guests may enjoy our produce for years to come! For more information on the drought in California and what you can do to help, please visit www.cadrought.com.