A Fruit Tree Grows in AT&T Park

Right behind the center field wall, in most ballparks, fans can find some unique attraction that pertains to the team or the city's character in some way. (Yankee Stadium has Monument Park, the Tampa Bay Rays' Tropicana Field has an actual cownose ray tank, etc.)

Now AT&T Park has The Garden, a 4,320-square-foot space full of leafy edibles for Giants fans to gather and hang out in, among kumquats and dwarf artichokes and marigolds in a familiar orange hue. It's got a bar, benches and tables, fire pits for chilly games, and slits in the wall with ground-level views of the action — plus a Peet's Coffee.

To maximize hangout space, vertical aeroponic towers were constructed atop raised beds, each of which can grow up to 44 plants while using only 5 percent of the water a conventional garden of that yield would suck down. So basically, the Garden is a temple to two San Francisco arch-virtues: sustainability and tasting good. (An errant home run may smash into an aeroponic tower and knock it over at any time, however).

While meant for fans, the Garden's also dedicated as an outdoor classroom for schoolchildren to learn about healthful recipes and urban farming — particularly, how dumping Peet's coffee grounds among the planters adds nitrogen to the soil and deters bugs. It sort of sounds like Alice Waters is playing shortstop, but it's a project between the Giants and Bon Appétit, the ecologically-minded mega-caterer that serves fancy concessions at places like the Exploratorium. It's a nicely laid out alternative to the beer line, and considerably tastier than a big aquarium full of rays.

And if you want to leave that healthy stuff to bunnies, you can still get a Sheboygan Bratwurst from the Doggie Diner on the Promenade Level.

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