Queen Creek’s Schnepf Farms has been growing vegetables for decades. Starting this month, it’ll also be serving them.
“Our farm used to be a destination — someplace you’d make a special trip for an event like one of our festivals — and it didn’t seem smart to open a restaurant,” says Carrie Schnepf, who owns the farm with her husband, Mark.
“Now that Queen Creek has grown up, people are driving by the farm on a regular basis. And we feel there’s nothing out here that serves fresh, country food.”
So the Schnepfs are launching the farm’s first full-scale restaurant, called Fresh From the Farm, which will celebrate its grand opening Nov. 1.
The restaurant will be in the original farm stand where vegetables were sold in the ’70s. Schnepf says it’ll have a French country village decor and seat 80 to 100 people inside, plus another 80 to 100 outside during cooler months.
The menu will offer “farm country food” — featuring the farm’s broccoli, cauliflower, beets, turnips and sweet peas — for breakfast, lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday.
The Schnepfs also want to experiment with a fine-dining experience, so they’re starting a series of chef’s dinners that will be held in the middle of their peach orchard, the largest in the state.
“Five years ago, I saw a picture in a magazine,” Schnepf says. “I think it was an apple orchard. It was in another state, but I thought, ‘This is something we could do on the farm.’”
At the first dinner, Sept. 22, two of the Valley’s most acclaimed chefs, Robert McGrath (formerly of Roaring Fork) and Aaron May (Sol y Sombra), will create a special four-course menu.
“They’ve promised to come up with some exciting farm-fresh dishes that they’ve never served at their restaurants,” Schnepf says.
The dinner costs $70 per person, which includes wine, tax and tip. Dress is “farm casual,” which means jeans or shorts.
Additional chef dinners are planned for November, March and April.
For more information or to make reservations, call (480) 987-3100 or go to www.schnepffarms.com.
BREW PUB COMING
San Tan Brewing Co., which had hoped to already be up and running in downtown Chandler, is now scheduled to open in late September.
“I’ll start brewing by the end of this week,” says owner Anthony Canecchia, formerly head brewer at Tempe’s Four Peaks Brewing Co.
The upscale brew pub is next to Mexican restaurant El Zócalo, southwest of the intersection of Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard.