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Geothermal Heat Keeps Resort
in Vegetables, Flowers Year Around

"Big Flowers" grown at Chico's geothermally heated greenhouse.History, tradition, beauty, education and fun are blossoming alongside sunflowers at Chico Hot Springs garden and geothermal greenhouse at Pray, Montana in the Paradise Valley. The folks at Chico strive to provide guests with a relaxing environment and memorable experiences, as well as fresh, delectable meals. 

Chico has been welcoming guests for more than a hundred years. By the 1920s, a sizable five-acre garden provided much of the food served to hotel guests. Today, Chico staff carry on these traditions. The geothermally heated greenhouse, built in 1996, produces fresh herbs, flowers, and vegetables year around. Outdoors, a large vegetable garden produces a wide variety of fresh treats for guests. Dining room chefs demand high-quality, fresh foods with superior flavor. For that reason, gardeners use only organic methods of fertilization and pest control. Chico is starting a new tradition of sustainable agriculture as a means to provide guests with memories of good food in a gorgeous setting. 

The resort also uses wastewater from the hot springs to heat offices and outlying buildings. Low-flow faucets and fixtures help reduce water use.

Gardener Lorraine Swift hopes to install a new geothermal system in the fall. "I would like to run the greenhouse's hot-water out-flow through tubing, warming two or three of the garden beds outside the greenhouse," she said "This, combined with cold frames, will allow us to grow and harvest cold-weather crops throughout the winter." To learn more about the operation, visit the Chico Hot Springs website.

Chico Hot Springs photo


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