IT’S what people are talking about, shopping for and, of course, growing – organic produce is the way to go and although it’s trendy, it’s by no means a fad; it’s a lifestyle.
As health and well-being are the essence at Prana Lodge Private Beach Estate and Spa, this five-star Wild Coast haven has recently added to its wellness offering by introducing a flourishing herb garden on its premises.
With a background in health and a fascination with alternative and natural healing, owner Gail Davidson decided to put her passion for gardening and beautiful plants into practice.
She believes that the secret to the success of their herb garden lies in the preparation of the beds and soil. She follows the organic philosophy and the companion planting method. Furthermore, the lodge makes its own compost and fertiliser so as to eliminate harmful sprays, dangerous poisons and chemical fertilisers.
Caring for the garden includes correct watering – the lodge makes use of collected rainwater and two small dams for irrigation – and a regular feeding routine, which involves natural and organic plant food concentrates. The plants are also regularly cut back, particularly when flowers and seeds appear. Certain herbs act as natural repellents due to their particular scents. Other than these herbs, the lodge makes use of natural, home-made insecticides to protect the plants. The garden is rich in lavender, pelargonium and lemongrass which are used throughout the lodge and wellness spa. Virtually all of the herbs and vegetables grown are used in the dishes prepared by the lodge chefs. These ingredients include a wide selection of herbs and green vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, rocket, basil, mustard, coriander, beetroot, bay leaf, rosemary as well as several varieties of parsley, mint, lemon balm, lemon verbena, thyme, tarragon, origanum, dill, horseradish, celery, beans, peas and baby marrows. Aloe Vera, garlic and ginger are also grown together with roses, calendulas and nasturtiums and violets.
All the chefs visit the garden several times during the day to pick fresh ingredients for their dishes which are defined by the inclusion of raw ingredients that exude Asian flavours balanced with French flair. The masters behind these unique dishes are Chef Jaycee Ferreira, Chef Janine Els and Chef Nico Myendeki, as well as the most recent set of green fingers to have joined the Prana Lodge team – Chef Morne Posthumus, born and bred in East London.
Before he joined Prana Lodge in June, Morne gained experience in the kitchen at Two Dogs Bistro. His learning now continues under the guidance of Jaycee, who, as described by Morne, possesses amazing flair and creativity. Morne has brought further passion, energy and a love for food to the team as he lives out his dream of working at a five-star lodge. His keen interest in growing organic herbs and vegetables fits the profile perfectly and his vested desire to grow as an exceptional chef is clearly revealed through the creative culinary delights that he pieces together with enthusiasm.
Typical dishes that guests can look forward to include an array of assorted Asian dim sum, two way duck with raw herb salad and teriyaki glaze, grilled line fish from a sustainable fish supplier, lime and peanut soy butter; and homemade sorbets and ice-creams paired with delicate dessert pastries, jellies, foams and fruit. Although diet cuisine per se is not served, the lodge focuses on serving well-balanced dishes as it places an emphasis on healthy living with balance in one’s life and in one’s diet.