Cape May has recently become a key member of the farm-to-table movement, in which locally produced foods are those used and prepared by a community’s dining establishments. Spearheaded by the restaurants of the Cape Resorts, this farm-to-table trend has inspired executive chefs throughout the county to redefine the parameters of “freshness” and to advocate the growth of local agriculture.
Beach Plum Farm of West Cape May is truly the lifeblood of this movement. Planted with summer crops including blueberries, asparagus, tomatoes and strawberries, along with a large perennial herb garden, this farm supplies Cape Resorts Group’s restaurants with more than 50% of their seasonal produce. The public can shop at the farm on Saturdays from 8 am-1 pm or find Beach Plum goods at the West Cape May Farmers’ Market. Beach Plum also offers guided tours Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 9:30 am for just $3.
Spanning 62 acres, Beach Plum Farm is small by most standards. But home to more than 100 kinds of produce and flowers, it offers an impressive variety. Cultivated with sustainable farming methods, Beach Plum lies less than two miles from downtown Cape May where its delivery truck makes three stops regularly – the Virginia Hotel & Cottages, the Beach Shack, and the Congress Hall Hotel.
The newly renovated and re-imagined Ebbitt Room at the Virginia Hotel is located in the heart of the historic district of Cape May. Here, Executive Chef Anthony Micari advocates both a Farm-to-Table and Farm-to-Glass philosophy, utilizing the freshest fruits in the Ebbitt Room’s artisanal cocktails. Chef Micari has recently created a sublime Beach Plum entrée featuring local day boat swordfish served with confit heirloom tomato, smoked banana pepper aioli, and baby leek fondue. Prepared with Beach Plum blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries and Sauvignon Blanc and Prosecco, consider the Ebbitt Room Sangria a must-try cocktail.
Beloved by locals and visitors alike, there is no better place to enjoy classic comfort food than Congress Hall’s friendly tavern, The Blue Pig. In the warmer months, dine on the wonderful, outdoor garden area. In the cooler months, cozy up by their magnificent fireplace in the dining room. Here, Executive Chef Jeremy Einhorn has wholeheartedly embraced the movement, even utilizing Beach Plum herbs as seasoning and in a majority of sauces. His deviled Beach Plum eggs are nearly a guaranteed sell-out daily at breakfast hour. At lunch and dinner hours, Blue Pig patrons cannot get enough of his Grilled Jersey Peach and Burrata Cheese appetizer. This starter features a stellar combination of grilled peaches, creamy burrata, sliced proscuitto, arugula, blackberries and heirloom tomatoes.
Back by popular demand, both The Blue Pig and the Ebbitt Room invite Cape May locals and visitors to join them for a wonderful date night or evenining out with friends with “Dinner & a Show”. Enjoy a delectable 3-course dinner at one of the restaurants, then head over to Cape May Stage’s 8 pm show! For $65 per person at the Ebbitt Room and $56 at Blue Pig, the package includes your meal and show ticket. All reservations can be made through the restaurant by calling the Ebbitt Room at 609-884-5700 or The Blue Pig at 609-884-8422. You must make a reservation in advance as the seating is limited. Now playing at CM Stage theatre company is the riotous, fast-paced farce and winner of the 2008 Tony Award for Best Revival, “Boeing Boeing”.
The Beach Shack’s Rusty Nail Bar & Grill is the third stop on Beach Plum Farm’s local delivery route and has made a name for itself as Cape May’s iconic surfer bar. Indoor spaces spill into outdoor seating, sand bar, fire pit and shuffleboard. Young and old are invited in from the beach for live entertainment and Rusty Nail’s beach blanket, farm-fresh comfort food that can also be wrapped up to go. Beach Plum’s produce graces a number of The Nail’s homestyle soups, salads, and hot “sammies”.
Since their adoption of the farm-to-table philosophy, the restaurants of Cape Resorts have brought new meaning to the “Garden State”. Curtis Bashaw – cofounder and co-managing partner of Cape Resorts and owner of Beach Plum – has played a crucial role in reinvigorating local agricultural interests and encourages Cape May patrons to sample dishes that are truly “Jersey Fresh”.