The Farm Chennai : A Rare and Rustic Farm to Table Experience in South India

In the outskirts of the Chennai, away from all the chaos is a rare slice of tranquility.  Set amongst mature trees, bamboos and winding garden pathways is The Farm Chennai, a serene retreat.  Reminiscent of a bygone era this farm serves up a farm to table experience that is rare in these parts. It is a working farm with buffaloes, chicken, goats, organic vegetable gardens, rice fields, coconut groves, and retired racing horses. Artisan breads and cheeses are made in house and meals are served in the garden or inside the restaurant built of bricks and furnished with tables and chairs made from wood procured from the farm.  See why we loved it here and why we think you should plan a visit if you find yourself in Chennai.

The Farm Chennai : A Rare and Rustic Farm to Table Experience in India

 

Rustic settings and real wholesome meals at the Farm Chennai Restaurant

My sister knows me well and kept telling me about the Farm Chennai and how we need to plan for a meal there during my short week in Chennai.  I love visiting farms during our travels and we have been to Flora Farms an organic farm in Cabo, Mexico, Fridheimar, a Tomato farm in Iceland, lavender farms in Texas… but to be honest I had low expectations for a Farm in Chennai. But was pleasantly surprised, Arul Futnani the owner of the farm along with his team not only run a rustic farm but also have a charming restaurant that caters to international taste.  The menu offers fresh juices, traditional oatmeal, granola, and omelets and farm food like rose milk and Raggi porridge. Also on the food offerings are wood-fired thin crust Pizza, grill meats, various tandoor dishes and cheese toasts among other things.  Seeing that there was some real wholesome food that we grew up with that we knew our parents would enjoy with along with things that the kids would love, we decided to bring the whole family later.

The Farm Chennai : A Rare and Rustic Farm to Table Experience in South India

We had some sister time while enjoying breakfast and decided we need to bring the kids and parents

History of The Farm Chennai

In the late ’90s when all the developments along the IT Highway and various residential buildings cropped up Arul desperately wanted to hold on to his family’s farm.  As a child, he had spent his weekends at their family farm started by his father in 1974.  While others around him took up corporate jobs, Arul wanted to spend his life at his farm. It had become difficult for his family to make ends meet with all the commercialization around. Since they were adamant about having and continuing the simple lifestyle of having their own farm and dairy, he came up with the idea of getting a hospitality business model incorporated with the traditional farm and The Farm Chennai was born. The Farm Chennai Restaurant is a pretty special place now, serving farm to table meals that range from ancient grain porridges to pizzas in a rustic setting.

The Farm Chennai : A Rare and Rustic Farm to Table Experience in South India

Farm Tour

The Farm opened its restaurant and food store in 2009. Arul and his team serve and sell fresh organic dishes, most of which are grown or produced on the farm. Ketchup, pickles, mayonnaise, pizza sauce, bread, Indian sweets, nut butters, granola, cheese for the restaurant are made in house and are available in the store as well. You can sign up for Farm walks and tours which are fun and educational activities for the kids.  Just steps away from the highway you get to enjoy this peaceful setting that makes you feel like you are in a scenic village. The adults in our group enjoyed the farm walk as much at the kids.

We saw cows grazing freely, learned how paneer (cottage cheese was made), fed some chicken, played with the horses and walked through vegetable fields and coconut groves.  The highlight though was the cute baby goats and the kids loved the cats that they were just lounging there in the sun, living up the farm life.

Get some goodies to go

The Farm does not buy milk from outside nor do they sell milk from our dairy farm, instead they use it to make cheese and other sweets that you can buy from their store. Also available in the store are fresh and chemical-free grains and vegetables like tomatoes, beans, gourds, and peas. As for those crops that cannot be grown in Chennai’s climate, they are sourced from trusted organic farmers across the country. A variety of cheese, butter, ghee, jams, pickles and even bakery products including bread are made at the farm itself.  Not many places in Chennai where you can find decent sourdough bread!

The Shop at The Farm Chennai, Semmancheri - Photo by Outside Suburbia

Last Meal with Mom

Another reason The Farm Chennai is a special place for me, – this was hard to put into words, we had the last meal with mom here.  We (me and my sister) had come for breakfast earlier and wanted to bring the whole gang here since there were animals for the kids to see, vegetable gardens and rice fields to explore – a perfect place for the kids to experience life on the Farm. My mom who loves organic food and would spend her whole day on Thursdays at a local organic store stocking up on fresh vegetables, rice, pulses and learning about the sources of where they come from.  She was always telling us to eat clean, cut down white sugars and eat a diet closer to our ancestors – we knew she would love it at the Farm.  So we planned for an evening with the entire family, little did I know that that would be my last meal with her.  After that visit in December, I would get a call 3 months later that she passed away.  This post is my way of saying goodbye to her.

A blurry photo but a memory etched in my brain – my last meal with mom!

A Few more Photos from The Farm Chennai

How to get there

The Farm is located about 30 minutes drive from the city center (depending on traffic) at 1/277, OMR, Semmancheri Village, Semmancheri, Chennai.  Make time for a meal there when you are visiting Chennai for a true farm to table experience. They only serve breakfast, lunch, and tea, check out their website for more information about timing and menu.

You might also like – Best things to do in Chennai in India, Best Luxury Resorts in India and A guide for planning family holidays in India.

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