Beach Plum Farm brings Farm & Fin to Table
One of our favorite things about Southern New Jersey is the variety of things to do. When we started the SJ Outdoor Dining group on Facebook, I had no idea there were over 350 places that were reinventing their business model to offer outdoor dining in just Cape May and Atlantic Counties. Even more shocking though, was the list of places we have never tried! We dine out frequently, love watching sports in bars and finding places that have live music and yet here I sat with a list of places that were brand new to me! So, when my best friend called to say she was buying tickets for the Beach Plum Farm & Fin to Table dinner for her birthday, I was elated to be trying something new and completely unique. When Dave and I were deciding on our first feature posts for the site, we agreed that we had to share our experience from the farm.
Beach Plum Farm
140 Stevens Street
West Cape May
A little background:
Owned and operate by the Curtis Bashaw and Will Riccio, Beach Plum Farm is a 62 acre farm built with the hopes of providing fresh, local produce to Cape May restaurants. Eight years later, this vision has been realized as the farm supplies most of the produce for Ebbitt Room, Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail, Boiler Room, Exit Zero Filling Station and Louisa’s Café!
The night began as we drove into the farm and pulled up to this beautiful barn-like building at the face of their property. It is so far removed from the beach and boardwalk crowds, the Washington Street Mall window shoppers and hectic drivers searching for a meter-less parking spot. The seclusion felt a little magical, like we stumbled into a romantic comedy. We stepped out of the car, grabbed our wine and started the stroll to the dining area where we were greeted by the hostess. She took us down a path cut through wildflowers that led to the seating area for the event which was completely hidden from the parking lot. The scene was remarkable. Three chefs stood behind a considerably basic grill constructed out of bricks, stacked only 4 high, with large grates stretching across the opening over slow burning coals. Our dinner was already underway when we arrived, and the smell was intoxicating. Each of the ten or so tables were covered in white linens and set with candles & more wildflowers. The place settings were rustic; white metal dinner plates sat underneath smaller metal plates for salads, and our green checkered linen napkins matched the server’s uniform and gave us a true picnic feel. Finally, across the field was a sole musician, set up under a tent, playing acoustic favorites.
The meal began with a basket of bread and a homemade honey butter. As we ate, we watched the chef meticulously prepare the oysters for grilling while roasting the shishito peppers. A server arrived with a wine bucket and poured us each a glass, as the first course was being plated for service. We love oysters and order them out often, but the oysters we had here were divine, and arguably the best part of our meal. They were cleaned and shucked perfectly, then grilled on the half shell with butter and shallots. The peppers each had a beautiful char and had sweet and mild flavor. And the bruschetta was a cool refreshing bite that lightened up the first course beautifully. We moved onto soup & salad next. While it wasn’t too hot out that night, we were glad to be served a chilled cucumber mint soup. It had a wonderfully smooth consistency and was a refreshing transition to our next course; an earthy variety of freshly grown kale and other seasonal veggies grown not far from where we sat, drizzled with a house made vinaigrette. As we finished up our salads, we watched the chef slice the pork tenderloin and carefully remove the banana leaf-wrapped snapper from the grill. Our main course was brought to the table family style accompanied by roasted red potatoes and a mix of braised kale and summer squash. The freshness of the ingredients used was amazing and was only enhanced by the creativity of the dishes themselves. The grilled pork loin was topped with strawberry gastrique, an unlikely but delicious pairing that added a light summer twist. While we ate our entrées, the hostess introduced herself and gave a brief background on the farm. She then introduced our chef, who took questions from the diners about the menu, which only added to the intimate feel of the night. As the sun went down, the light from the tiki torches created a warm glow. We each had another glass of wine with dinner and then, finally, dessert. A yellow butter cake with a lavender & rosemary buttercream was the perfect end to our meal. We lingered a bit longer as the musician continued to play. We sat at dusk and enjoyed the light of the moon slowly rising as we finished our last glasses of wine and all agreed we had to come again.
Photos from Our Journey
What to know before you go:
● The menu is preset and disclosed the night of the event and items that are vegetarian or gluten free are clearly marked on the menu. You will also receive an email ahead of time to address any allergies you may have.
● If attending with friends, consider purchasing tickets as a group to ensure that you are seated together.
● As I mentioned above, the dinner is BYOB.
● Gratuity is included in the ticket price, but we brought cash to tip the musician and to leave a little something extra for our server.
● It’s a farm – your choice of shoes should be appropriate for walking on the soft grass.
● While you are not seated at your table, they ask that you wear a mask until Covid restrictions are lifted.
To find the schedule of upcoming dinners & purchase tickets, visit the Beach Plum Farm website at https://beachplumfarmcapemay.com/upcoming-dinners/