While doing research on the history of Congress Hall, founder Curtis Bashaw, co-managing partner of the Cape Resorts Group, discovered that the hotel had once sourced all of their fruits and vegetables from their own local farm, so he put his Wharton MBA to work and the concept of farm-to-table Beach Plum Farm was born. "We bought this farm with the vision of growing food for our restaurants in Cape May. People love to get in touch with where their food comes from and with the natural setting here, just a mile from the Atlantic Ocean." 8 years later, his dream is now a reality and the 62 acre farm now supplies most of the produce for the Ebbitt Room, Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail, Boiler Room, Exit Zero Filling Station and Louisa's Cafe. The farm has grown to produce over 100 kinds of fruits and vegetables (Over 1000 watermelons this year alone!), chickens and eggs, and Berkshire Hogs, a heritage breed.
Cape May has amazing loamy, well-drained soil. It's perfect for supporting all kinds of agriculture. You can taste the freshness and the character of the land. The French call that "terroir" and it's part of what makes everything that is grown and raised at Beach Plum Farm so special. Curtis continues, "You cut the asparagus at 6 in the morning and you are eating it in a salad in the Blue Pig Tavern by lunch time. That's pretty fresh. The flavors just pop in a way most people aren't accustomed to."
Curtis has a deep connection to farming and to family. As a boy, he often helped out on Grandfather Bashaw’s 10-acre spread in Cherry Hill, growing vegetables and raising turkeys. When close family friends lost their farm to demolition, it struck a nerve with Curtis. So many farms were being turned into housing developments. “South Jersey’s heritage is deeply rooted in agriculture,” he says. “The loss of the meaning of ‘Garden State’ was happening in my lifetime and that's another reason why creating Beach Plum Farm was so important to me. My grandfather McIntyre was a preacher, and his favorite quote was Proverbs 29:18 'Where there is no vision, the people perish'.” The farm is named for his grandfather's favorite wild fruit tree– the beach plum.