Terri Haack has learned a lot about creating healthy environments during her 30-plus years in the hospitality business. Today, as president of Terranea Resort, a Destination Hotel, she’s the steward of the 102-acre luxury resort, perched on the Palos Verdes Peninsula south of Los Angeles. She has been with the 582-room property since 2007, two years before its 2009 opening, overseeing its construction in a delicate ecological zone to make sure it complied with strict measures to protect its seaside environment.
CAM+E: What are some of the creative ways you bring the message of sustainability to your group business?
TH: In 2015 we installed a sea salt conservatory. We’ll take groups out to see it so they can observe the process of how we make sea salt. In fact, the whole property has embraced sea salt. We have about 4,000 square feet of farmland about a mile and a half from the resort, and we harvest more than 2,000 pounds of produce, all of which we use. Some of the citrus we grow goes into making orange and lemon salt, and the herbs into making sage and rosemary salt. There’s more. Our pastry chef uses sea salt in caramels. And the spa uses the salt in some treatments.
Our culinary team led by Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra has added beehives to our farm, increasing our honeybee population to over 150,000. We have a portable hive that we bring into select group settings during breaks. In fact, some of the honey that guests use to sweeten their coffee or tea during those breaks comes from our own hives.
Early on, we had an intense problem with seagulls. We did research into eco-friendly, nonlethal ways to deal with this and we discovered that if you fly birds of prey, that will deter the seagulls from hanging around the resort, especially our restaurants. We’ve been flying predatory birds ever since, and we offer our guests a falconry program where they can learn about the birds and take part in a flight demonstration with expert falconers
CAM+E: What are some small ways you’ve been able to reduce food waste that other properties might be able to emulate?
TH: Every one on our culinary staff understands how valuable every bit of food is. For example, we are very careful about trimming and making use of scraps. If we use celery in a vegetable tray, we will be sure to use all of the other pieces for a soup stock.