Sarah Berman

Director of Health + Wellness

Sarah Berman

It was inevitable that Sarah would be called to the wild. Her travels to Asia in her teens and early twenties as a model in the fashion industry was a mere excuse to satiate a hunger for life. To seek the soul of what defines a culture and its people is to eat the ripest fruit fit for a feast. She wanted to experience food in all forms and take in the senses of time and place. During her travels, she was captivated by the relationships that defined local foodways, always tracing back to the earth at its root.

Sarah left her home state of Florida when she was 18 and moved to New Jersey. Inspired by the seasons and the rhythmic effect they had on nature, she immediately dove into the wild and began exploring the region’s flora and fauna. Observing nature became an obsession - an orchestra to the senses that defined for her the true meaning of life. She began collecting specimens and identifying them in books on botany and edible plants and mushrooms of the Northeast. These passions drove her to become a self-taught forager.

In the spring of 2013, Sarah moved onto the historic Armstrong Farm nestled deep in the Kittatinny Mountain Valley. The neglected land that was regionally classified as a wetland fen, or peat accumulating wetland, became a playground for experimentation. The habitat proved to be a challenge to cultivate with its seasonal flooding and high water table. She grew food nonetheless, focusing on what worked with the land and in turn what worked for the lifestyle she wanted to create. It was during this period that she began to study permaculture design and natural farming techniques under the influence of experts Bill Mollison and Masanobu Fukoaka. The principles and philosophies that nurture resilience of not just the land, but the habitat and its people were of top priority.

Sarah spent eight years unearthing the concepts of regionally adaptive food systems. She became a food activist in the true sense of activism: grow it yourself and grow it for the land. Food tastes best when grown in living soil, and it provides unparalleled nutrient density compared to anything pumped out of conventional agriculture systems. The words of Hippocrates rang a bell of truth -  “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” She quickly learned that what was medicine for her, was also medicine for the land and what tasted the best was growing in harmony with its habitat.

Sarah is a biological-based experimental grower that focuses on soil health as the foundation of all of her cultivation practices. She is a member of the Bionutrient Food Association, an organization that converges soil science, health and nutrition. She has experimented with growing a multitude of crops including seasonal annuals and perennials, culinary mushrooms, medicinal and native plants, livestock and specialty products for restaurants. Living with the land has also taught her to be a true homesteader. She learned how to process and preserve the fruitful harvests season to season by way of fermentation, drying, canning and root cellaring. She also crafted up value added products and sold them in community markets. Her most famous concoction is her farm crafted Fire Cider — the people’s herbal health tonic that holds a place in American folk history. Read about her Fire Cider here: Spoonful of Fire - Dirt Magazine

Sarah has been wild foraging for Restaurant Latour since 2014. Her list of wild edible ingredients currently exceeds 350 items, all harvested in the Kittatinny Mountains and Ridge and Valley regions of Sussex County, New Jersey. She has built intimate relationships with each habitat and always harvests with sustainability in mind. Upon delivery, she educates the chefs on each specimen, their seasonality, medicinal qualities, native use and how to successfully extract their unique flavor profiles. This relationship building is what defines Restaurant Latour’s unique dining experience. It completes the circle of eating in time and place. She joined Crystal Springs Resort in 2020 and has designed the resort’s new wellness program.

Apart from her self-taught journey in the natural world, she enjoys many extracurricular activities including snowboarding, wakeboarding, kayaking, surfing, sailing and playing drums. At the end of the day, you will find her in the kitchen, where she feels most at home. Observation is her teacher and food will always be the life she brings with her friends and family to the table.