How One Hotel Raises Its Farm-to-Table Fare
No food and beverage trend has gotten more play in the past few years—from group meeting banquet planners all the way down to regular Joe restaurant foodies—than farm-to-table. With an eye towards living a sustainable, environmentally friendly lifestyle, farm-to-table chefs stress the use of locally grown ingredients that are not only fresher than those shipped in from points far-and-wide, but are likely to be healthier to boot.
The historic luxury hotel in Chatham, Mass., on Cape Cod known as Chatham Bars Inn Resort & Spa is a firm farm-to-table believer on both its banquet menus as well as fare served to guests at its STARS gourmet restaurant and other on-site F&B venues. But this year the Inn’s resident chefs are raising the bar (pun intended) by creating more programs that revolve around the property’s eight-acre organic farm in the nearby town of Brewster, Mass.
According to the farm manager, the working farm is expected to produce an estimated 25,000 pounds of produce for STARS and the Inn’s other dining outlets this year. The harvest will include everything from arugula, kale and Swiss chard (in the spring) to eggplant, heirloom tomatoes and squash (in mid-summer).
During the winter months, the farm’s two greenhouses are used to produce lettuce and micro greens that form the basis of the restaurants’ winter salads.
The 217-room Inn’s meeting facilities range from a boardroom for up to 12 to full-fledged meeting rooms that can accommodate 100-plus theater style. Planners can book small groups (whether corporate or incentive) to visit the farm. In addition, a number of workshops are planned through the spring and summer season on different aspects of sustainable farming and gardening that would make informative spouse or incentive programs.
In addition to STARS, Chatham Bars Inn features two private dining options, the Captain’s Table for up to 14 and the Harbor View Room for up to 70. Along with the farm-to-table cuisine, both venues offer sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Originally built in 1914 as a luxury hunting lodge for wealthy Bostonians, the management of the Inn early on saw the value of protecting the environment and viewed healthy, sustainable food offerings as a natural extension of that approach.
This mindset has continued over the generations up until today, when society’s understanding of sustainability is so much more sophisticated. Accordingly, 100 percent of the produce grown on the farm is free of GMOs (genetically modified organisms). No synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fungicides are allowed. Plus there’s a strong interest in soil conservation, which means techniques like composting and cover crops are used extensively.
Photo credits: Shutterstock and Chatham Bars Inn