BLACKBERRY FARM, TENNESSEE
Blackberry Farm stands on lands that sustained the Cherokee and early Appalachians; now, it provides for the resort’s forager, livestock team, cheesemaker and preservationist, who, together with its team of chefs, create what it calls ‘Foothills Cuisine’. This refined, elevated take on southern staples has equal footing in haute cuisine and indigenous Great Smoky Mountains heritage foods, and is so central to the dining experience that it’s trademarked.
“‘Foothills Cuisine’ has been part of the terminology at the farm for a long time. Each chef who has taken the helm gets to interpret what it means to them,” says Cassidee Dabney, executive chef at The Barn at Blackberry Farm, an iconic, red-walled structure at the heart of the 4,200-acre property.
In spring, she cooks with ingredients that yield bright flavours, such as young garlic, sweet onions and strawberries, before foraging for chanterelles in July. In autumn, squashes, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts abound, and once winter rolls around, the team gets busy pickling and preserving to stretch the farm’s flavours across all seasons.
“There are coves in the mountains that keep the genetic diversity high for foraged and cultivated products, and immigrants who have moved to this area over generations have contributed a wealth of variety to the produce we have access to,” Dabney adds.
The farm makes its own beer and seasonal cheeses, and runs tastings and classes in both. You can also taste some of the cellar’s 160,000 wines, dive into the South’s lauded whisky traditions with a beverage professional, and sign up for archery, clay shooting, cycling or wakeboarding.
In parallel with its on-site culinary programme, the farm welcomes external chefs, such as Noma founder and champion of the New Nordic movement René Redzepi. It also offers extensive year-round programming — think concerts by Southern country superstar Emmylou Harris in residence and beauty seminars with organic cosmetics entrepreneur Tata Harper — so guests can time their visits to areas of personal interest.
Tennessee was the first state to produce cultivate American truffles, and one of the most popular annual fixtures is February’s truffle hunt. Borrow one of the farm’s famous trufflehunting Lagotto Romagnolo dogs for a week of demonstrations in a nearby orchard, then settle down for an olfactory, fungus-forward feast.
“Each course is important, conveying something individually;
this is the moment when something can be really small, but you can pack something impactful into one or two bites.”
— Kyle Connaughton
KYLE AND KATINA CONNAUGHTON ARE FARMERS, CHEFS ANDHOSTS AT SINGLETHREAD FARMS, WHICH OFFERSFINE JAPANESE FARE IN CALIFORNIAN WINE COUNTRY