Richard Branson At Natirar
Branson and Wojtowicz ride a tractor around Natirar.
Scoring a seat into space on Virgin Galactic wasn't the reason I went to Natirar, the 90-acre estate in Somerset County, New Jersey, that’s co-owned by Sir Richard Branson (with Bob Wojtowicz). But since I was there the night Branson was visiting the culinary center—the only part that's open just now—it seemed like a good time to ask. Branson, though, had spent the morning holding a Virgin Galactic press conference; he was more interested in talking about Natirar's restaurant, Ninety Acres. Chef David Felton is all about local produce; while Natirar’s working farm hasn’t quite started working yet, Felton is sourcing as much local produce as possible (he told the Star-Ledger that he wants more than 80 percent of Ninety Acres' food to be locally grown). He’s also dreaming of starting a farmer’s market on Natirar’s front lawn (he has a little extra space to work with, since the town said no to a helicopter pad for Branson).
At Ninety Acres, Branson said he ate a lot of greens and some “lovely fish” (possibly the roasted Chatham cod with braised cabbage and cracklings). And Branson liked the carrot-ginger vinaigrette on the greenhouse lettuce salad so much, he asked Felton for the recipe. Incidentally, he said you can use Virgin frequent flier miles on Virgin Galactic—though apparently, you'll need 25 million of them.