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8 farm-to-table hotel experiences driving sustainable tourism

In recent years, many people have become conscious of their carbon footprint on the planet and are moving towards a sustainable lifestyle. Along with individuals, many businesses, including the hospitality industry, are slowly changing their ways and adopting eco-friendly practices as their contribution to protecting the environment.

One of the concepts that have gained popularity is farm-to-table restaurants in hotels and resorts. This service refers to creating dishes from fresh ingredients that are either organically grown in-house or bought from local growers and producers.

This, coupled with a property’s own sybaritic services and accommodations, creates a luxurious and guilt-free experience in an idyllic setting that’ll help you relax, rejuvenate and recalibrate.

Here’s a look at some farm-to-table hotels from around the world.

Belle Mont Farm, St. Kitts, West Indies

Nestled on the foothills of picturesque Mount Liamuiga, this 400-acre organic farmland is the place to be if you are looking for a relaxing vacation. The sustainable farm, which is a part of the Kittitian Hill resort, serves authentic West Indies delicacies created using locally grown ingredients. The fresh produce is sourced from various locations across the island and served directly at the table. For the items that the farm is unable to procure locally, they partner with distributors spread across the Caribbean who practice ethical farming, fishing and animal husbandry. Through its cooperation with locals, Belle Mont Farm helps reduce the island nation’s dependency on imported produce while promoting organic farming.

One of the best experiences is the ‘Farm Table’, where you get a chance to meet and mingle with other guests around a huge table for communal dining. And the food is prepared right in front of the guests by head chef John and his team.

It’s not just the organic food that makes Belle Mont special, it’s also the surrounding beauty and nature away from the cacophony of the cities. If you are staying here, you can take long treks through the forest, listen to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, play golf, connect with the locals, learn organic farming tips in a special course, or just relax in the calm waters of the infinity pool.

Click here for further details.

L’Andana, Tuscany, Italy

The L’Andana is a luxury resort located in the Tuscan countryside near Grosseto where rolling hills draped in vineyards and olive groves are part of the scenery. The resort has two buildings, the Villa and the Fattoria that are joined by an informal winter garden, a lobby and a reception.

The restaurant at La Villa is a charming dining area with a fireplace and offers a seasonal menu serving dishes such as fresh fish of the day, forest fruit cheesecake and fresh-egg garganelli pasta with red mullet, cherry tomatoes and mint.

If you are in the mood for some gourmet food, the resort also houses La Trattoria — the restaurant run by famed Italian chef Enrico Bartolini and open exclusively for dinner. The food prepared here is infused with Tuscan traditions and products, sometimes based on local recipes. Some dishes are served in clay plates and terracotta bowls to honour local history. You should also check out its wine cellar; has more than 600 wine labels, including those produced in the vineyards of the estate’s owner, the Moretti family of the Terra Moretti Group.

L’Andana’s gardens, which produce vegetables, fruits, wine, olive oil and aromatic plants, are the source of the produce used in the kitchens of both the restaurants.

Other than the scrumptious food, the property offers activities like yoga, trekking, biking and wine tasting. You can also take a horse ride in the soothing shade of a tree-lined pathway or recharge your body with massages at the spa.

And if you are the one for thrills, do take the hotel up on its offer of letting you drive a Ferrari through the Tuscan countryside.

Click here for further details.

Le Mas de Peint, Camargue, France

The luxury boutique hotel is housed in an 18th-century manor in the region known for its nutritious rice and bulls. The property, run by the Bon family, has been passed down the generations.

The hotel follows the farm-to-fork policy and serves dishes made with products exclusively from their farm and local growers who practise sustainable agriculture. They also serve lamb, poultry, pork procured from a friend as well as daily fresh Mediterranean fish. Le Mas de Peint emphasises reasonable consumption and sustainability to support viable farming and the health of the planet.

The hotel also offers a seasonal menu. For instance, in autumn, you have a choice of ballotine sole, beetroot and creamy egg yolk or Mediterranean seabass celery and seashells emulsion. Similarly, there is a swimming pool menu that includes dishes like terrine of their bulls with homemade pickles or bull beef with organic rice and vegetables or homemade fries.

For recreation, you can witness ranchers herding cows on the 1,235-acre estate by riding alongside them. Or you can opt for a hike to explore the wetlands of Camargue, which sits on the delta formed by the Rhône river as it empties into the Mediterranean Sea, making it one of the most ecologically significant sites in Europe. The hotel also organises relaxation days and gala evenings for entertainment, including lessons on the culinary processes of Camargue.

Click here for further details.

Lime Wood, Hampshire, UK

Healthy Italian food created from products sourced locally is the speciality of this cosy hotel nestled amid the enchanting woods of England’s New Forest. Angela Hartnett of Hartnett Holder & Co (HH&Co) and Luke Holder of Lime Wood create the delectable dishes that are the pride of the hotel’s range of menus — à la carte, trattoria piattini, set lunch, pudding and Sunday lunch.

You can enjoy simple salads, Lincolnshire cauliflower caramelised in apple, capers and chilli, and Wooley Park guinea fowl with charcoal roasted leeks, borlotti beans, artichoke, fennel and lemon among the exciting range of gastronomic delights.

On your way to the hotel, make sure to notice the Smoke House, a little brick building the chefs use to smoke the salmon which has been cured over 10 days. Also produced here are pancetta, chorizo, salami, lavender cured loin of pork and dry-cured ham besides the preparation of healthy plant-based raw food such as rustic Forest Board with charcuterie.

If you choose to dine at the Kitchen Table with friends or family members, you’d be offered a five-course Tavalo Cucina menu which is decided upon on the night. You’d then be suggested the best wine pairings to go with the food to make your experience truly memorable. And the wines come from an award-winning list that includes Lime Wood’s own labels created in collaboration with Fertuna Estate in Tuscany, Italy.

You can also have smoothies, juices, and non-alcoholic Seedlip cocktails among a variety of healthy options. If the herbs in these drinks make you wonder where they are from, head to the roof of the hotel to discover the ‘herbery’ which not only makes the place a visual delight, its mix of aromas will help calm your senses.

As for the stay, you can opt for any of the cosy rooms in the Main House or pick the seclusion of the massive Lake Cabin, surrounded by a lake on three sides.

Click here for further details.

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand

Located in Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay, The Farm offers majestic views of the Pacific Ocean and a one-of-its-kind stay experience.

The luxury lodge has a working farm which is the source of vegetables, fruits and herbs used in the delectable dishes. The head chef buys the additional ingredients locally from small, speciality, artisan producers. This availability of rich ingredients allows the chef to change menus daily and set dishes according to the season.

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers also offers a lot of exciting activities, including golfing at the par 71 golf course designed by legendary golf architect Tom Doak. Measuring 6,569 metres, the course not only offers unmatched views but also challenges players with its cliff-top bunkers.

There is the historic Rangaika beach for you to explore and the joy of watching the sunrise above the spectacular cliffs of Black Reef as the sounds from the nearby Gannet colony fill the air. You can also go for the 90-minute guided adventure in the night to see the nocturnal Kiwi.

Do visit the Cape Sanctuary. You’d witness two of New Zealand’s most important birds — the endangered kakariki and kaka in the natural habitat. You will also get to see the tuatara. Found only in New Zealand, it is called the “living fossil” by scientists because it is the only living member of the order Rhynchocephalia, whose other members shared the land with the dinosaurs and died with them.

Click here for further details.

Rancho La Puerta, Tecate, Mexico

In operation since 1940, the wellness resort is spread in an area of 4,000 acres, of which 32 acres are dedicated to gardening. Ingredients for the food come from their six-acre Tres Estrellas Organic Farm, located around three kilometres from the resort at the foothills of Mount Kuchumaa.

At the farm is the La Cocina Que Canta, or The Kitchen That Sings, where guests can join cooking classes by renowned culinary experts such as Deborah Madison, the founding chef of Greens in San Francisco, and cookbook author Patricia Wells. Only organic items are used to prepare the dishes. Lobster and shrimp paella is a must-try on a warm summer evening or rich dark chocolate gluten-free mini brownie bites to satiate your sweet tooth.

Accommodation includes 86 casitas (small wooden houses), where paths lined with bricks lead everywhere on the facility, including the wine bar and the juice bar, giving guests a charming bucolic feel. There are three dozen hammocks between the oaks for a quick nap or just lounging. Fitness enthusiasts can head to the basketball, tennis and volleyball courts, any of the eleven gyms and four pools, or simply go for a run on the track.

If you are looking for a soulful experience, go hiking through the 64 kilometres long trail that will take you through rolling meadows and chaparral.

Click here for further details.

Six Senses Samui, Koh Samui, Thailand

Located on the northern tip of the Samui island, Six Senses Samui is within 20 acres of indigenous plantings and offers an unparalleled 270 degrees view of the Gulf of Thailand from its restaurant.

The farm, known as Farm on the Hill, at the resort has herds of goat you can feed. You are also allowed to gather the eggs laid by the chickens that are later used in the breakfast. The dishes at the restaurant are created from locally sourced organic and sustainable ingredients. Anything not available locally is brought from sustainable farms abroad.

You can choose from various meals, from three-course to seven-course. Dishes on the menu include tomato confit with jelly, smoked, herbs and chamomile kombucha, scorched lobster serves with pumpkin textures, three seed crumble and herbal mosaic, and crispy cured pork belly.

The resort takes a leading role in the green market organised every six weeks with the local community and organisations from the hospitality sector. The market helps support the community through the sale of organic vegetables, homemade pastries, eggs and bio charcoal. Awareness about environment-friendly produce is also raised through the market.

Six Senses Samui is also known for its clean environment initiatives like creating its own biodiesel, recycling wastewater and working with UNICEF and Restaurants Against Hunger. Their precision air conditioning (PAC) system stores heat which is used in heating water. This helps in reducing energy consumption. Partnering with local groups, the resort participates in beach cleaning, tree planting and other environmental initiatives, along with supporting schools and hospitals with the necessary equipment.

As for stay, there are 66 spacious villas to choose from — each offering a view of the Gulf. Many of them have private pools from where the panorama pictures of the region are worthy of your Instagram feed.

Click here for further details.

SingleThread, Healdsburg, California

Around 11 kilometres from the inn and restaurant is the SingleThread Farm which provides the farm-to-table hotel with its supplies for the kitchen. The farm has chicken coops, an heirloom fruit orchard, olive trees, cattle paddock, greenhouse and loamy fields surrounded by vines of Zinfandel, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Bambi lettuce, potatoes, sweet corn, ping tung long eggplant, striped Armenian cucumbers, summer squash, dahlias, Malabar spinach — you name it and it is grown on the farm. Eggs, flowers and herbs are also among the produce available here.

The hotel has an outdoor dining room, called Usu-Zan, which is inspired by the natural beauty of the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The food served here is a reflection of the island’s culinary traditions such as the nine-course dinner in which you get to choose between Hokkaido seafood and miso hot pot, vegetarian tofu and roasted Duclair duck hot pot among others. You can pair the food with California red wine, beer, sake or a non-alcoholic beverage.

Click here for further details.

(Main and featured images: Unsplash)

Manas Sen Gupta
Manas enjoys reading detective fiction and writing about anything that interests him. When not doing either of the two, he checks Instagram for the latest posts by travellers. Winter is his favourite season and he can happily eat a bowl of noodles any time of the day.
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