We want to eat fresh, in season, and locally-sourced food at home—and we want it on our vacations, too. Within culinary tourism, there are a variety of farm to table travel experiences, from farm stays to food tours to DIY experiences. Your dining experience can be as varied as the geographic regions and foodways represented in the U.S.
Oyster Decadence In the River
If you are a true oyster lover, the Chef’s Table Tour is for you. Guests will join Captain Chris Ludford on a boat ride to the farm to explore its operations and the unique ecology of the Lynnhaven River. Here’s the fun part: after a catered lunch or dinner, you’ll don water waders to perch at a table in the river, where you’ll enjoy a chef’s tasting of Lynnhaven oysters harvested from the water that surrounds you. Guests are encouraged to bring along family and a bottle of wine to enjoy an as-authentic-as-it-gets oyster tasting in Virginia’s beautiful coastal waters. For an even more hands-on experience, try their Waterman Tour: no catered meal, but more time spent in the water, exploring how to handle wildlife before sampling freshly harvested oysters.
Sustainable Cuisine With Gorgeous Tastes
The vision of chef, farmer, and sustainable food activist Adam Navidi, Future Foods Farms utilizes aquaponics to grow organic produce, a greener alternative to farming methods that require more water or leave a larger carbon footprint. Navidi also uses reclaimed found objects, like Styrofoam coolers, and nutrients from the tilapia raised in the farm’s pond, to sustain grow systems that are completely above the ground. During their Farm-to-Table Organic Tour and Tasting, you’ll tour the farms while enjoying a drink and small bites, learning about the unique process behind the food you’ll soon eat. Bring a bottle of wine and grab a seat at one of their family style tables placed in the greenhouses to be immersed in a truly green food experience that helps “sustain the planet, one plate at a time.”
Milk the Cows and Stay On a Farm
What better way to steep yourself in the all-American farming tradition than a farm stay? Liberty Hill covers all the bases: a multi-generation, operating family farm with a cozy inn and family style breakfasts and dinners for guests. Whichever season you visit, the Kennett family will welcome you with open arms and an open home. Explore the barn (complete with kittens and cows), hike through the beautiful natural surroundings, tube down the river, milk a cow, and begin and end each day with a hearty meal that’s packed with local, sustainably-minded fare. Their farm is conveniently situation near a plethora of off the farm activities, and Beth Kennett even has a foodie tour guide for those who want to explore nearby local restaurants, stores, and food production sites.
Pick the Produce Your Chef Prepares
Charleston Culinary Tours has crafted an experience that leaves you in the hands of a local food expert. As you wind your way through one of the South’s most beautiful and historic cities, who better to help you select items for a farm-to-table dinner than a Charleston chef? When the farmer’s market is in season—mid-April to mid-December—you’ll meet your chef downtown, and he or she will lead you through the nationally-celebrated collection of vendors to select the freshest ingredients. While you then enjoy a 45 minute walking tour lead by a CCT guide, your chef will prepare a brunch based around what you selected together. Participating chefs represent the diverse, textured food scene found in Charleston, and the collaborative spirit of this food experience certainly reflects the community fostered there, too.