Ever wonder what the fruits and vegetables on your plate look like before they’re harvested? Beach Plum Farm in Cape May is offering guests the opportunity to find out with Rooted, an exclusive culinary experience.
The four-day getaway will have you working closely with the team at the 62-acre Beach Plum, harvesting vegetables and collecting eggs. After your time in the fields, the executive chef will walk you through seasonal recipes tailored to the crops. Guests stay in one of five beautifully landscaped cottages on the premises.
Rooted will be offered as four different Monday-through-Thursday getaways this fall: October 18–21, October 25–28, November 8–11 and November 15–18.
Christina Albert, director of agriculture at Beach Plum, says she’s excited to immerse guests in real farm-to-table experiences.
“We’ve named these escapes ‘Rooted,’” Albert explains, “because our goal is to ground and restore the basic tenets of our relationship with nature and farm life.”
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Table Hopping: What can guests expect from this getaway?
Christina Albert: An authentic Garden State, farm-to-table culinary experience. It’s an opportunity to actually follow your food from the farm to your fork and understand how it’s harvested and the creative ways chefs utilize seasonal ingredients. This culinary retreat is also a wonderful getaway to disconnect and enjoy the autumn season. The Beach Plum Farm Cottages are located directly on the farm. What better way to wake up than to the sound of a rooster crowing and some fresh-farm eggs?
TH: What exactly will guests do as they work with farmers?
CA: Get their hands dirty (if they want to!), get out in the fields with farmers to actually hand-pick produce that will be used in their meals, plus help care for our farm animals and harvest some fresh morning eggs.
TH: What other activities will be available?
CA: Guests can take advantage of a la carte options such as morning yoga on the farm, cocktail-making classes, hiking in Cape May, candle-making and more. Guests can also head into town for local shopping and enjoy everything that Cape May has to offer.
TH: What is the normal working day like at Beach Plum?
CA: Whether it’s from our sprawling fields, our raised garden beds or our greenhouses, we harvest year-round. We start the day by loading up the truck with our gear and head out to the fields or gardens to pick the freshest produce for our chefs.
TH: What goes into the farming process?
CA: Farming and gardening require careful planning. We start each January talking to our chefs, reading seed catalogs and reviewing our notes. Once the seeds arrive, we are busy in the greenhouse. At the first hint of Spring we are mowing, preparing fields, feeding our baby chicks and piglets. The main season is full of bountiful harvests, weeding and irrigation, rotating our animals to fresh pasture and collecting thousands of eggs.
TH: Will guests have a hand in making a farm-to-table meal over the course of the getaway?
CA: We love when our guests get their hands in the soil and pull out a carrot or a sweet potato for their meal. Collecting eggs is always a highlight!
TH: What kind of vegetables will be in the farm’s autumn harvest?
CA: Fall is such a special time of year. The sweet tang of summer gives way to delicious root crops such as carrots, beets, turnips and sweet potatoes. Tender greens also make a return for amazing salads and sautés.
TH: What meals will be made with the vegetables on the farm?
CA: All of our vegetables make their way to the plate in a variety of different ways. It could be a salad with a breakfast sandwich or coleslaw with our pulled pork.
TH: Do guests need to have any farming or kitchen experience to enjoy this retreat?
CA: No experience necessary! Our culinary team and farmers will share their knowledge with guests. It’s a great learning experience for people of all culinary skill levels.
TH: How is participating in the farm-to-table process beneficial for guests?
CA: Connecting our guests to the land [and] farm brings the experience all together. There is beauty and simplicity to farm life. Watching what was warmed by the sun only hours before finding its way to the plate is a kind of satisfaction that is unmatched.