Chef Camp is a hand’s on, life changing (some say spiritual) educational experience where chefs come to Spence Farm to live what sustainability means. By using all of the five senses, chefs fully immerse themselves into the reality and value of farm to fork.
Chefs have a structured curriculum that includes sessions from professional agronomists, specialty growers and harvesters; information about responsible production facilities; and day-to-day life on the farm.
Two-day event with a focus on the introduction and overall benefits of farming sustainably. Held twice per year.
One-day camp that expands into breads and production techniques. Held in August each year.
What happens at Chef Camp?
Chef Camp starts with a tour of the farm highlighting the diversity of the land and the impact each area has on the economic, environmental and social aspects of sustainability.
To a chef, the art of smell is a key factor to success. Chefs are suprised by lack of negative odors on the farm. This is because pasture raising does not create the normal odors associated with animal confinement operations.
The sounds throughout the day indicate life and activity on the farm. This is highlighted by the night walk through the woods. The peace and tranquility that is part of life on the farm can only be fully experienced by sound.
Activities that promote the sense of touch like chores, butchering, foraging for meals, and participating in learning sessions taught by professionals in their field are a large part of the learning experience. This allows chefs to really appreciate and know the efort that it takes to be a farmer.
By side-by-side sampling of processed, conventional, organic, and responsibly produced farm fresh ingredients, chefs experience the real value of supporting local agriculture. This cumulates with chefs using the farm products to create and share masterpieces of their own creation for a collaborative meal.
Want to see what happens?
From the amber waves of grain to the clay oven, Chef Greg Wade and Marty lead the way taking chefs on an experiential and social journey discussing the use and growth of ancient grains on the farm. Campers are shown traditional methods of sourdough and sprouted grains to be used in artisan breads. The two day class includes a tour of the mill, the farm, all while producing a variety of breads.
Here’s a Bread Camp video to enjoy!
Chipotle restaurant managers, field leaders, and team directors have an opportunity to move pig pens in the field, enjoy a honey tasting, and learn more about the small-farm practices at Spence Farm. Considering where food comes from and the hard work it requires to produce it characterizes the theme of “Mindful.”
Chefs partake in farm chores while at camp by harvesting produce for local restaurants. Discussions led by Travis, Meyer, and other local farmers further educate chefs about best practices and sustainability. A variety of tastings are included in the weekend—such as eggs, milk and honey—which help chefs differentiate conventional products from locally farmed, minimally produced products.
Spence Farm Foundation’s vision, commitment and execution of its fundamental principles are creating a revolution in thought and a renaissance of good motives that can change not only health care but also the health of the planet. I am honored to be part of this visionary team: soil doctors, chefs, and the medical community! — John R. Principe, MD, Founder of WellBeingMD