As the lodge industry moves ever further into an era of sustainability and eco-friendly practices, lodges who grow their own produce are becoming increasingly popular places to stay. Not only are they ecologically friendly, but they provide important employment for local people who tend the gardens and learn about growing their own food as well.
Best know of these is Babylonstoren, which sits in the heart of the Cape Winelands, between Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. Their garden kitchen is renowned and brings in visitors from across the region, but is also available for more private visits by guests with the chefs as the pick and choose the herbs and vegetables that they will be using for that day’s meals. This is a fascinating experience and really allows guests to immerse themselves in their culinary experience. Having spent the morning harvesting vegetables with the Chef’s a delicious meal in Babylonstoren’s renowned Greenhouse Restaurant is a reward for your endeavours.
Bartholemeus Klip, is a working farm and game reserve in the Riebeek Valley to the North of Cape Town and a great retreat for those looking to involve themselves in their food experience. Their new book, “Life on a Cape farm” is fantastic pre or post-trip reading and will give you an insight into what life is like for the chefs and owners of this beautiful lodge. There is also an area dedicated to sheep farming on the property, so you know the lamb you will be enjoying is locally sourced and well cared for before it reaches the plate.
Grootbos, a stunning lodge overlooking Walker Bay, is another to use produce grown from it’s own gardens, however, they have taken a different approach to many lodges in the way it is set up. Their “Growing for the future” programme employs 8 women from the Gansbaai region to achieve an Organic Food Production and Life Skills qualification. Not only does the programme provide food for the kitchens at Grootbos, but it helps provide employment and key skills to the local people. The project is run by the Grootbos Foundation and guests can join the guides on a tour of the project to learn more about how it works and benefits the local people.
Blog Author: Peter Felix