It’s hard to believe that last week at this time I was enjoying a decadent lunch at Beach Plum Farm in Cape May, New Jersey. I filled you in on my press trip to Congress Hall, but I left out our afternoon at the farm because that post was getting waaaay too long and I wanted to do it justice.
When I was invited on this trip, I knew I was going to the beach, and that was fantastic enough. But when I arrived and looked at our itinerary, I saw that we were visiting a nearby farm. As it turns out, Beach Plum Farm is part of the Cape Resorts Group — a collection of properties scattered along the Cape May beach including several hotels, restaurants, an antique shop and this farm. At the present time, the farm supplies about 50% of the produce for the resorts during the summer months, and they hope to eventually produce enough eggs, chicken and pork to sustain the restaurants. While not officially certified organic, they use sustainable practices for growing crops and raising animals, which of course was music to my ears.
Owner of Cape Resorts Group, Curtis Bashaw, and farm manager, Jaime Alvarez, took us on a tour of the farm.
What impressed me more than anything is that Curtis knew every plant and every flower on the property. He doesn’t just oversee the workings of the farm, but he is intimately involved in every detail. It is truly his labor of love.
After meandering in and out of rows of herbs and vegetables and berries, we came upon this exquisite scene:
I mean, SERIOUSLY. I felt like I was dining at the home of Ina Garten or Martha Stewart.
We were greeted to mint juleps and the most delectable meat and cheese plates.
Chef Lucas took time away from his makeshift farm kitchen to talk to us about the menu and how he works with the farm to source foods for the restaurants on the Cape Resorts Group’s properties.
Everyone had a fantastic time. At the end of the weekend, when we were asked about our favorite part of the trip, half of us proclaimed the farm tour the highlight of the weekend.
The food kept coming and coming. It was without a doubt the freshest food I’ve ever tasted that I didn’t grow and prepare myself. Everything was prepared simply with fresh vegetables and herbs, most grown right there on the property. Best of all, because it was all so fresh and simple, everything but the rolls were gluten free so I got to enjoy every bit of it.
Even the flowers gracing the tables were picked fresh from the fields.
Afterwards, we rolled ourselves back to The Virginia for dessert — homemade (and homegrown) strawberry rhubarb pie with REAL whipped cream.
The afternoon at the farm proves that this isn’t any ordinary beach resort. The commitment to fresh, locally grown, sustainable food is a huge selling point for the Cape Resorts Group. If I’m going on vacation and I can choose between a place that uses locally sourced ingredients and one that doesn’t, well, you know which one I’m going to choose.
I know it sounds cheesy, but I feel so blessed to have had this experience. It was definitely a trip to remember.
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As a reminder, be sure to follow Congress Hall on Facebook to stay apprised of all the latest news and events.
And if you want to experience Cape May for yourself, you can receive a $100 Resort credit to be used during your stay at Congress Hall, Virginia Hotel, or the Beach Shack. Make your reservation online using the promo code MOMBLOG, and the reservation must be booked by July 31, 2011 for stays in 2011. Your $100 credit will be applied at time of checkout. This offer is not valid with any other offers.
Disclosure: This trip was sponsored by Cape Resorts Group and The Motherhood. I was provided with meals and accommodations and a spa treatment in order to appreciate the Congress Hall experience. All commentary and opinions are my own.
All photos were taken by me, with the exception of those specifically credited.