Yes, Virginia, there once was a tree house, comfortably ensconced on the verdant grounds of Plants of the Southwest nursery in southwestern Santa Fe. It was in the shade of this handcrafted, lovingly-built tree house that seed of Tree House Pastry Shop & Café was planted.
Nurtured in the kitchens of her relatives in and around Mexico City and trained at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, Tree House's owner and head elf Maria Elena Bustamante-Bernal had a dream for a different kind of restaurant: one that grew organically from the surrounding countryside, that served scrumptious home-cooked meals based on what was available from the local farms, that respected the Earth in policy and in practice, and that celebrated local culinary traditions as the heart of a vibrant community. It was with those guiding principles in a small adobe building--a building built literally from the earth on which it stood--that Tree House was born.
Though the original tree house no longer stands and the café is no longer a component of the nursery, Tree House's connections with the earth—and with the local farms who supply its all-organic produce—remain at the core of its existence.