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Get Back to the Farm

By AFAR Staff


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In “Maine’s Homegrown Revival,” Michael S. Sanders visited Maine’s Salt Water Farm. Here are some other places you can discover your inner agrarian.

Willows Inn and Nettles Farm Lummi Island, Washington
Blaine Wetzel worked with René Redzepi at the acclaimed Copenhagen restaurant Noma. At Willows, Wetzel prepares hyperlocal five-course dinners of dishes like lettuces with “dirt” (a mix of crushed hazelnut and malt) and pickled Hamersley Inlet oysters. The restaurant is in a sublime setting: a 1910 craftsman-style B&B in the San Juan Islands. Guests can go on foraging expeditions via kayak, or walk five minutes to Nettles Farm, the source of most of Wetzel’s produce. Doubles from $285; Farm work- shops $50. 2579 W. Shore Dr., (888) 294-2620, willows-inn.com

Ballymaloe Cookery School Shanagarry, Cork, Ireland
Ireland’s prominent celebrity chef Darina Allen opened her renowned cooking school 28 years ago in the middle of a 100-acre organic farm. Today she offers more than 30 courses, from half-day classes to five-day intensives ranging from “forgotten skills” like butter making to such classic techniques as pan grilling and preparing a perfect omelette. Students can opt to stay in self-catering cottages on the school grounds or up the road at the gorgeous Ballymaloe House hotel, run by Darina’s family. Rooms from $153. Classes from $160. Shanagarry, County Cork. 353/(0) 21-464-6785, cookingisfun.ie

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Blackberry Farm Walland, Tennessee
Local ingredients are so revered at this grand farm resort at the foot of the Smoky Mountains that Blackberry Farm employs a gardener, a cheesemaker, a beekeeper, a butcher, and a preservationist who pickles and makes jams. An 18th-century Amish barn doubles as a dining room and a cooking school where visiting wine experts and chefs, including Judy Rodgers of San Francisco’s Zuni Café, lead multiday classes. Rooms from $745, two-night minimum. 1471 W. Millers Cove Rd., (800) 273-6004, blackberryfarm.com

The Agrarian Kitchen Lachlan, Tasmania
The Agrarian Kitchen, a sustainable farm–based cooking school located 45 minutes from Hobart, has Barnevelder chickens, British Alpine goats, Wessex saddleback pigs, and an heirloom vegetable garden and fruit orchard. An old schoolhouse has been converted into a kitchen where owner Rodney Dunn and guest chefs give lessons on everything from cooking with fire to butchering a whole cow. Full-day classes start at $313. 650 Lachlan Rd., 61/(0) 3-6261- 1099, theagrariankitchen.com

Castello di Vicarello Maremma, Italy
Aurora Baccheschi Berti gives hands-on cooking lessons in the enormous stone kitchen at her 12th-century castle in the Maremma region of Tuscany. Aurora keeps extra mud boots so guests can stomp through the gardens picking herbs and heirloom greens. Her seasonally inspired pastas, risottos, and tarts are paired with wines made by her husband, Carlo. Adventurous guests can accompany Carlo on a wild boar hunt at his nearby hunting lodge. Rooms from $667. 58044 Poggi del Sasso, 39/0564-990-718, vicarello.it

Photo by Tara Donne. This story appeared in the November/December 2011 issue.