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Good Will Planting

Break away from the typical beach or Manhattan getaway and become a weekend farmer, with the help of Serenbe’s crop and an immersive experience in nature.

Brian Moll, executive chef of The Farmhouse restaurant, explains the evening’s menu for an alfresco dinner party.

 

LESS THAN AN hour’s drive from Atlanta and even closer from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, a movement is underway that’s putting the farm at the heart of the farm-to-table concept. “When I first came to Georgia, I met a local farmer after the Saturday market selling a few flats of strawberries she had left,” says Serenbe Foods chef-in-residence Matt Adolfi. “I’ve had strawberries before, so I thought, ‘No big deal,’ but it was the best strawberry I ever had, and it opened my eyes to the care, skill and love that [can] really emerge [in farming]. Organic farms truly produce the best product,” he adds. Fast-forward to today, when Adolfi builds menus for upscale new urbanist village and getaway Serenbe that are inspired entirely by what Serenbe Farms manager Matthew Clayton’s crop yields. “There is a huge disconnect between people and where they get their food. The farm-to-table buzz phrase at least lets the customer know someone has a relationship with the farmer,” says Clayton. His brother, Paddy, is also in on the game and works on everything from product development to pickling for Serenbe Foods.

Serenbe is part of a growing trend of sustainable, like-minded communities where neighbors all know and help each other. The Inn at Serenbe offers a luxurious getaway with well-appointed traditional rooms and a relaxed atmosphere replete with Southern hospitality (your room booking includes afternoon tea and a hearty breakfast). Between long nature walks, the local theater, yoga, meditation, horseback riding and seasonal cooking classes (from $45 per person), there is plenty of activity, but the farm is where the action is. Follow Clayton and his team around and learn about crop rotation and crop cover, composting, seed germination, the difference between organic and conventional farming, and more.

If you are more interested in the end product, a farm tour pretty much guarantees a firsthand look at what will inspire executive chef Brian Moll’s menu at the award-winning restaurant The Farmhouse that evening. “Letting the yield from the farm drive the direction of the menu is one of the coolest things to be a part of and watch as it evolves organically,” says Moll. He explains that all of the cooks have a close connection to what happens on the farm and an incentive to influence what is grown. “Farm-to-table is about using food to build great communities and healthy lifestyles. It seems new, but it’s really old,” he continues. “This is one trend that should never fade.” Weekend rates $295-$1,670 per night, 10950 Hutcheson Ferry Road, Chattahoochee Hills, Ga., 770.463.2610

Serenbe Foods chef Matt Adolfi puts the finishing touches on a vegan appetizer.