Growing and Sourcing Responsibly For Your Plate
January 5, 2022 by Tiffany Figueiredo
Photo courtesy of Heckfield Place
For travelers seeking top culinary experiences or nourishing anti-inflammatory meals, choosing to stay at properties with seed-to-plate and farm-to-table approaches is a must. When hotels and resorts commit to growing their own food or responsibly sourcing it locally, ingredients are treated with reverence whether used in the simplest cocktail or the most extravagant multi-course dinner. This means guests experience a destination through their tastebuds, understanding a locality in ways only food can reveal. Plus, it’s healthier for the diner, the host community and the environment. Learn more about Hidden Doorways’ properties and brands that are deeply committed to delivering the best dining experiences possible while being responsible environmental stewards.
Photo courtesy of Heckfield Place
Earlier this year, after a massive three-year undertaking, award-winning Heckfield Place achieved the distinction of being designated the United Kingdom’s first biodynamic hotel. Just an hour outside London, this 1700s-era Georgian manor house and farm has adopted a holistic closed-loop system of working the land used to grow its flowers and produce, steering away from chemicals that damage and deplete the soil and rather using natural fertilizers that nurture the soil, keeping it alive for future generations. The natural rhythms of the earth, sun and moon also are observed in growing and harvesting the herbs, produce, honey, eggs, flowers, dairy and pork used in everything from bath and spa amenities to delicious zero-waste root-to-plate dining. Guests are invited to tour the grounds to learn more about these practices or just enjoy the incredibly fresh and simply elegant cuisine.
The Retreat Costa Rica
The organic farm at The Retreat Costa Rica enjoys a prime position on the south-facing side of a crystal mountain planted in soil imbued with healing crystal energy and watered by crystal spring waters. While all of this may sound a bit fanciful, The Retreat employs a serious anti-inflammatory approach to dining that benefits guests and the environment. Meals at this holistic health retreat are mostly plant based, although some local and sustainably raised fish, fowl, beef and lamb are served at dinner. The kitchen is grain free, dairy free (aside from the occasional goat’s cheese or yogurt), uses no refined sweeteners and all ingredients are locally sourced and sustainable, yet taste never suffers as dishes are inventive and flavorful. Vegan and vegetarian options are available at each meal and guests are invited into the kitchen to see how their food is prepared or take one of the many cooking classes taught by the in-house chefs.
Photo courtesy of Phillip Angert
Nestled in 300 acres of relaxing pristine countryside in Vermont, Twin Farms is one of the top culinary destinations in North America. This inclusive Relais & Châteaux property’s rural location means an abundance of reputable nearby farms who supply everything from field peas and lettuces in the spring to root vegetables for the colder winter months, as well as artisanal ciders and vinegars. Pasture-raised chicken, duck, turkey, pork and beef suppliers are also just miles away, which reduces pollution caused by transportation, supports the local economy and ensures guests taste the freshest food imaginable. On site, beehives are lovingly cared for as is the resort’s organic garden providing everything from tomatoes, zucchini and herbs to the strawberries that fill Twin Farms’ famous lemon soufflé pancakes drizzled with real Vermont maple syrup.
Photo courtesy of Ellerman House
Honoring its mission to showcase the best of South Africa, Ellerman House in Cape Town sources its food products and ingredients from local organic suppliers as much as possible. Chefs here sometimes practice the ancient art of foraging by collecting ingredients such as ice lettuce from the sea. Regular visits from a local mushroom forager sees gems from the forests of Stellenbosch such as Blushers, Pine Boletes and Pine Ring incorporated into delicious dishes worthy of the hotel’s Relais & Châteaux membership. Seafood is chosen from the sustainable Green List and even edible indigenous plants from the Ellerman House garden such as spekboom and buchu are used in cocktails and garnishes on dishes showcasing local proteins like Karoo lamb, springbok loin and kingklip fish. By sourcing local ingredients, Ellerman House supports small South African businesses and the communities of the Western Cape and beyond.
Photo courtesy of The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch
The Farm at The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch
The American West has a way of pulling people. With promises of fly fishing, shooting sports and horseback riding through glorious landscapes, The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch draws travelers from cities and suburbs to experience the land as they never have. Brush Creek Ranch Luxury Collection offers a new way to get to know the land. The Farm at Brush Creek offers an immersive range of decadent culinary experiences rooted in the property’s seed-to-table ethos. This 40,000-square-foot complex includes Brush Creek Brewery, Brush Creek Distillery, Medicine Bow Creamery, Brush Creek Greenhouse, Brush Creek Cellar, Spirit Vault, The Bakery, The Saddle Barn event space and The Cheyenne Club, the chef-driven destination restaurant. Guests can partake in cooking classes, whiskey and wine tastings, tours of the green house, visits with their adorable heard of Alpine goats to name a few.
Photo courtesy of Gili Lankanfushi
Situated in one of the most beautiful but fragile ecosystems in the world, barefoot luxury pioneer Gili Lankanfushi in the Maldives is continually innovating ways to protect its tropical paradise home. The freshest seafood is sourced from local fishermen who, together with the hotel’s marine biology and culinary teams, ensure that everything caught is from plentiful and sustainable fish populations. Gili’s organic garden is the largest in the Maldives and it is from here that the ingredients and inspiration for the kitchen’s innovative plant-based dishes come. Guests can even enjoy a walk through the garden with the chef followed by a plant-based cooking demonstration and meal paired with organic wines. The Rocket, a mechanical biological composter takes care of all food waste, returning it to the garden. Guests are treated to plant-based options at every meal, given complimentary reef-safe sunscreen for days spent on the water and end their nights in beds made from up-cycled materials with feather- and wool-free bedding.
Photo courtesy of Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal
Earth Labs, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
Embracing a “grown in, not flown in” philosophy, Six Senses’ Earth Labs serve as command centers for the brand’s innovative sustainability actions both on its various properties and in their host communities. Throughout the brand, fruits and vegetables are grown in onsite organic gardens or sourced from local farmers, herbs are used in spa treatments, free-range chickens provide eggs and goats provide cheese and yogurt while making use of landscape waste. Wherever possible, beehives are maintained providing honey and pollination and all still and sparkling water at the resorts is bottled onsite in glass bottles. The labs are also education hubs, where guests can take part in the fun, learning how to make chemical-free detergent, toothpaste and natural beauty products at their Alchemy Bar or how to compost, forage, farm, recycle and up-cycle. Earth Lab’s seed bank allows guests the chance to grow the organic produce they enjoyed back home.