Beach Plum Farm has served as a kind of public park since it opened in 2007, drawing hipsters pedaling tandem bikes and seniors dodging crowds on the beach, all of them taking in the bucolic scene of hogs and chickens roaming the acres of corn and cabbage.
Curtis Bashaw, owner of Congress Hall and the Ebbitt Room in Cape May, bought the farm to supply his properties with fresh produce. But he noticed many of these visitors were coming hungry, and so he thought he'd feed them at a market and grill.
"It just feels like it wanted to be here," he said. "The setting is so magical and pretty, and we had all these eggs and these fresh meats. It just seemed like, 'Oh my gosh, wouldn't it be great to have our own breakfast sandwich here?' "
He's not the only one taking advantage of hungry masses at the Shore. Artisan bakeries, cafes, and markets continue to open from Long Beach Island to Cape May, serving locals and vacationers alike.
Jennifer Bailey co-owned 4th Street Cafe and Who's on First with her then-husband in Ocean City. When they split and she decided to go solo, she wanted to try something that "wasn't table service, or crazy breakfast, lunch, and dinner." She launched Barefoot Market.
"I just kind of wanted it to be family-oriented, local," she said, "kind of that old-fashioned thing where you could come in and get milk and butter and candy and cookies, and have it be a neighborhood, small venue."
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