Home is Where the Farm Is

Lifestyle

The Farm at Glenwood Mountain is a hidden oasis at the highest point of New Jersey. The fresh, crisp air and breathtaking views will make you forget that you’re still in the garden state. The 180 acres of land had a peaceful aura even with the pigs, turkeys, chickens and the rooster crowing at the crack of dawn. 

Steve and Candice Maclean, along with their five children purchased the farm five years ago. At the time, the land hadn’t been farmed in over thirty years. The family manages everything on the farm. From raising the animals, growing the organic fruits and vegetables, maintaining the land — everything. Eventually, the family decided to expand their horizons and open the farm to the public. They slowly started to offer events such as private dinners and weddings either outdoor or inside the recently renovated 1930s farm. Then they decided to start hosting “true-farm-to-table” dinners throughout the season.

All of the food they serve is derived from the farm itself. All the meat that the farm serves is raised right on the farm, on pasture, and raised humanely. They never give the animals antibiotics or anything unnatural. Steve makes the feed himself using local, non-gmo grains. The animals are also never raised in confinement. At the beginning of each week, Steve goes out into the field and up into the pasture to write that week’s menu.

For dinner, the ambiance is warm and comfortable making guests feel like they’re at home. Guests are presented with a four-course dinner menu when seated with an appealing table setup including a flower centerpiece, which of course are also grown on the farm. It is a BYOB restaurant, so guests are encouraged to bring beverages of their choice. 

Before the first course, we were brought a small gift from the kitchen; also known as the amuse bouche. This small bite is served as a way of “amusing” the palette. The small plate featured two shishito peppers — known for their sweet flavor with a slight kick — accompanied with a tangy beurre blanc sauce. This duo curated the perfect balance of savory and sweet. A small bite that definitely amused our taste buds; having us on our toes for what was to come. 

The first course was a charcuterie board complete with all the works. The thinly-sliced cured meat consisted of the coppa and lonza — charcuterie made from pork shoulder and boneless pork loin. Next to the meat is a homemade ricotta cheese made fresh every morning and slightly drizzled with honey produced from the hives in their field. Blocks of parmesan cheese nestled in the corner to add that hint of sharpness and the house made pickles for a little acidity. Their local bread served as a base for all the goodies on the board. The crispness of the bread followed by the creamy, light ricotta and then finished off with the umami of the cured meat served as the best combination to start the dinner off with. 

A colorful dish awaited us in the second course. Fresh burrata cheese centered the plate surrounded by these beautiful heirloom tomatoes — homegrown in twelve varieties in their garden this season. Topped with their local bread and basil then dressed with olive oil and a balsamic reduction. The mixture of the flavors and textures made for another course that did not disappoint. This light and airy course prepared us for the main dish. 

Our entrée’s main protein was their farm-raised chicken. These chickens are a special breed from France taking them twice as long to raise compared to ones sold in grocery stores. For this dish, the protein was seared and then roasted producing a chicharron-like texture on the skin with a pleasing color. The chicken sat on a bed of a smooth cauliflower purée and succotash — a mixture of beans, chickpeas, green beans, and corn. A chicken jus that was cooked down for thirty-six hours completed the main course. The chicken was so tender and juicy that you could tell just by cutting into it complemented by the pureé and succotash in such an exquisite way. 

To end this promising dinner, a summer corn creme brûlée was brought out for dessert — made with their free range, farm raised egg yolks. Adding corn to a dessert was interesting and we were unsure of how it was going to taste. However, we were surprised that the corn was what made the creme brûlée so phenomenal. The sweetness from the vegetable gave the right amount of flavor all through the custard satisfying even the sweetest tooth. 

The Farm at Glenwood Mountain was nothing but exceptional and undoubtedly exceeded our expectations. They made sure to add all the components to a dish — down to the flavor, the textures and the color — to enhance the guest experience, which made everything worthwhile. The calmness of the farm, the careful creation of the food, and the inviting atmosphere from the staff really makes this place feel like you’re at home. A feeling that we all need, especially during challenging times. There’s no wonder there’s a list of people from the city and locals that continue to keep coming back here — VUE Magazine now included. 

By Lauren Musni

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