One of the more enjoyable parts of my work designing horse farms, beyond the satisfaction of seeing it built and come to life, is the excitement expressed and seen in the faces of a satisfied client.  That is often demonstrated in how they use the barn and the farm and that is certainly the case at Great Road Farm.  On September 29th, I attended “The Agricola Barn Dinner at Great Road Farm”, located on the outskirts of Princeton, NJ.  What a “tasteful” event it was.

Great Road Farm is the home of Jim and Ann Nawn and their four sons.  Not only is it their home but a farm where they both have been able to combine their passion for horses and farming with their profession.  Ann, who is an equestrian and a licensed social worker,  has developed a therapeutic riding facility on the farm.  Jim, a former owner and operator of 37 Panera Bread franchises, sold his successful business, went back to school at the Institute of Culinary Education and after addition training in the kitchen of Veritas in NYC became a farmer and will open Agricola Eatery ( in Princeton in January 1013.

The party was an introduction of his new restaurant concept to a large group of family, friends and invited guests (such as the likes of their equestrian architect). Dinner prepared by Agricola executive chef Josh Thomsen with food grown on the farm by farm manager, Steve Tomlinson, and served in the agricultural barn was fantastic.  Most of the natural ingredients were grown locally and on the farm (see menu below).  It was a perfect Fall evening and we were all treated to the fruits of a very successful harvest and what promises to be a unique and exciting new restaurant to be located in “downtown” Princeton (the site of the former Lahiere’s restaurant that occupied that location for generations.)

Blackburn Architects developed the overall master plan for the farm, designed a 12 stall barn and enclosed riding arena for Ann’s horses that was completed in 2011.  The arena was designed to serve as a riding arena for Ann and friends to enjoy but also to serve as a therapeutic riding and teaching facility for her work.

The farm appears to be serving both Jim’s and Ann’s needs well, and, as the architect for the farm, that brings me a great satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. One of the reasons I have pursued my career.

If you find yourself in or near Princeton, anytime after January 2013 (check their web site for exact opening date), do yourself a culinary favor and stop in at Agricola Eatery.