Welcome to farm-to-table 2.0: if you can't go the farm for your fresh produce, then bring the farm to you. Following the global trend that pushes for total traceability and transparency of the dinner table's ingredients, many resorts are dedicating sizable portions of their property to growing food for their guests. Here are some of our favorites.
A stately scatter of villas overlooking the sea in Montego Bay, Round Hill ties its private beach homes together with an award-winning culinary program headed by Chef Martin Maginley. The goal is to gently educate the palate with elevated Jamaican dishes, and through the property's See, Touch and Taste Program guests can go one step further and pick vegetables directly from the on-property garden after which the hotel staff will prepare the selections in the kitchen for the guests' next meal. A dedicated farm-to-table menu is available on Thursday and Sunday at The Grill, and travelers can also find a smattering of onsite ingredients at the spa. Ultimately, the goal is to create stronger bonds between guests and the kitchen staff.
Imagine an arid limestone outcrop floating in the Caribbean Sea and you've pictured Cayman Brac — the baby sister to Grand Cayman that feels like a wonderful throwback to a time before big-box resorts. The focus at Le Soleil d'Or — one of the island's only stays — is the farm, a 20-acre organic expanse perched atop a scrubby bluff once thought to be inhospitable to local farming. The founders of the property persisted and today Farm Soleil features over 300 fruits and vegetables, no to mention a roaring population of free-range chickens. As the resort is very small and scattered across several private homes, it's easy to get a lot of face time with the chef team — cooking classes using the farm's bounty are strongly encouraged when you're not out on the sand.
For the internationally acclaimed Six Senses brand, their Farm on the Hill initiative is as much about product traceability as it is a response to the volumes of organic waste that a high-end resort can accrue. The farm runs on a gray water catchment system that draws from guest suites and irrigates the growing produce. The chef team invites guests to book a table at the farm for a sunset tour followed by a private dinner using the very best of the plantation, which includes eggs, chicken, goat's milk and a bounty of fresh vegetables. The farm is also used as a popular learning center for the surrounding community to teach locals about environment practices and sustainable farming.
A stunning jungle resort with direct river access to the sea (and a 10-minute drive to the beach), Belcampo blends the best of both worlds. Its massive acreage on a lush preserve means that the property is practically self-sustainable. Every morning the chef team does a walkthrough of the farm picking out whichever fresh ingredients are available for their daily dishes. The menu changes regularly to reflect the bounty of the seasons, with fresh eggs, chicken, sheep and pigs raised year-round. Expect seasonal greens, okra, tomato, peppers, kale, yucca and coconut milk to make their way into your dishes — fusion nods to Belizean cuisine that mixes Mayan, East Indian, Latin and Caribbean flavors, among others.
Shangri-La's island resort at the southern end of the Maldives lays claim to one of the largest pieces of land in a country that is notoriously sinking. In addition to overwater bungalows, the property has the only golf course in the island nation, and has cleared space for an impressive chef's garden to reduce the need for some food to be shipped in from afar. Book a meal through the Dine by Design program and you can stroll through the garden with Executive Chef Michael McCalman to pick veggies and herbs, after which he'll create an elaborate four-course meal with your selections and pair it with the daily catch, caught in the waters right off property. Garden highlights include Thai basil, lemon basil, dill, oregano, mint, arugula, watercress, spinach and lettuce.
The sprawling Dorado Beach property made news in 2016 when it announced that it had acquired 500 acres of land, all of which allocated to a state-of-the-art farm and onsite restaurant to open in the near future. While the luxury property moves towards self-sustainability, it will continue to partner with neighboring farms, which offer their goods at the hotel's Fresh Market, where guests have exclusive access to premium vegetables not available in the local groceries. Travelers can also take cooking classes at all levels at the resort's La Cocina Gourmet Culinary Center, which pulls lantana, mint, purple basil, lemon balm, thyme, rosemary, Thai basil and peppermint from the on-property garden. Editor's note: This property was damaged by Hurricane Maria and is expected to reopen on October 1, 2018. Please visit paradisebymarriott.com/updates for more information.
Following Noma and the explosion of Copenhagen's New Nordic reputation, the quieter parts of the country are finally starting to get the global attention they deserve. Falsled Kro, a favorite for many in the luxury category, is a small inn located along the water on the island of Funen and — according to its front desk staff — is 90 percent self-sustainable, owing much of its flavors to the onsite gardens. In the very Danish tradition, all food served on property is done so with an eye for local sourcing, but Falsled Kro sets itself apart by using French techniques in its execution.