Summer Camps for Food Lovers

6 unique opportunities to expand your culinary, farm, and oenological prowess without quitting your day job.

Salt Water Farm

Remember those summer camps for over-achievers who wanted to learn, say, astronomy in three short weeks or intensive art camps for would-be potters and painters? Those were the halcyon days when you believed you could be anything you wanted to be -- astronaut, cartoonist, famous chef -- and spent summer vacation getting a leg up on your dreams. Well, that's not just for kids anymore.

There's a way to take a break from cubicle life for a stint as a farmer, a vintner, or a sous chef, if only for a week, with a variety of short, intensive summer “camps.” A culinary boot camp means honing your knife skills instead of heading to the slot machines. A three-day series of workshops near Maine’s Penobscot Bay will take the locavore homecook far beyond the farmers market by learning how to source their own local food and incorporate it into every meal.

There's a chance to finally get that deeper, understanding of viticultural practices and wine production and also travel to Mendoza, Argentina, for a five-day, in-depth look at the entire winemaking process . Try blending your own wine for some seriously hands-on learning. Aspiring vintners who don't want to hop on an international flight can also sign up for wine camp on Long Island’s North Fork, where you build your knowledge of wine through a series of interactive classes, winery tours and tasting sessions, and wonderful meals.

Click here to see the Summer Camps for Food Lovers Slideshow.