Blog Archives

Long Weekend Winter Plant Sale

LONG WEEKEND SALE! We are having a 10% sale on all plants this weekend… Friday the 16th of June – Sunday the 18th of June (Fathers Day!) from 10am-4pm 🌿 Now that we are in-between some long awaited winter rain fall, it is finally the perfect time for planting hardy indigenous plants. Propagated and grown from seed right here at the nursery – if these plants have survived the elements here at Cape Point, they will thrive in your gardens. On Sunday the Gray family (Gael, Tom and Roushanna) will be pottering around in the retail – come share a cup of hot chocolate and chat about plants! For questions or directions please email us on gaelgray@gmail.com or roushanna@hotmail.com

Summer 2017 with Veld and Sea

 

 

COASTAL FORAGING

Sunday 26th March 9am – 1pm

This half day course will introduce you to some of our local edible seaweed, explore the magical world of rock pools, meet like minded people, learn how to sustainably harvest and prepare your macro-algae and shellfish, make various recipes together that will end in a feast.
We will start off the day meeting at the beach, and after an intro and snack on the rocks we will make our way down around the tidal pools where we will forage for edible seaweeds and mussels. This beautiful coastline is abundant with food, but as we always forage sustainably we will be focusing only on the seaweed that is prolific in the area and the invasive mussel species, stressing how to treat the wildlife with respect. After our morning on the rocks, we will head to the Veld and Sea classroom in Cape Point (a 5km drive from the beach) with our foraged food to prepare and create an outdoor lunch banquet.
Includes wild food snacks and drinks, a delicious three course lunch based on ingredients foraged and prepared by the group. Notes include intro, identification, recipes and tide charts.

More info on our website HERE

Cost: R550 per person/R2000 for a group of four. Children under 17yrs R200, Children under 2yrs free. Full payment will secure your booking as spaces are limited.

 To book: Please email roushanna@hotmail.com

WILD LOVE DINNER

Tuesday 14th Feb 6pm

Come and experience this once-off pop-up event dedicated to sustainable cuisine that will tantalize all of your senses.

The meal will be created by Roushanna Gray of Veld and Sea, using fresh seasonal ingredients and locally produced products, transforming them into delicious foods.
Vegetables, herbs and wild foods will be picked and prepared on site that day from the Good Hope Gardens vegetable gardens. Indigenous edibles, seaweeds, floral foods and local artisan products will be used.

Quality not quantity is to be observed and that means limited spaces! There will only be 12 seats available at this pop-up so please book soon to avoid disappointment.

The Wild Love dinner will be held in the Veld and Sea classroom at the Good Hope Gardens in Cape Point on Tuesday the 14th of Feb at 6pm.

Tickets: R500 per person

Included: Four course meal, 1 large botanical cocktail, 1 small gift. Guests are welcome to bring bring own wine, corkage not charged.

Vegetarians and Vegans options available!

To book contact Roushanna Gray at roushanna@hotmail.com

 

BOTANICAL COCKTAIL WORKSHOP 

Saturday 18th of Feb 11am-3pm 

 Join Caitlin Hill, co-owner of Mothers Ruin, Gin Bar on this exciting wild alchemy, botanicals and floral food filled day.

We will start with a foraging master-class in the Veld and Sea classroom, followed by a walk where we will gather wild herbs and edible flowers to be used in the drinks. You will learn the basics of cocktail making – the ingredients, techniques and equipment plus a special introduction to gin as well as how to make two classic gin based cocktails. Discover the world of tincture making and create your own bitters and infusions. A light floral inspired lunch, cocktails and refreshments will be served. Leave with a herbal bouquet and your very own wild booze creations.

Venue: Veld and Sea classroom, Cape Point

Cost: R650 per person. R600 per person for a group of four

To book: Please email roushanna@hotmail.com

FERMENTATION WORKSHOP

Saturday 4th of March 10am – 2pm

Fermentation workshop led by Zayaan Khan.

Join us for a session in wild fermentation!  We will learn about chopped veg fermented in its own juice (such as sauerkraut), whole ferments in brine (such as pickles), and layered ferments (such as kimchi).  We will taste various ferments as well as condiments, mustard and ketchup and discover how to make them.

We will discuss the scope of fermentation and learn the basic understandings to build a community of fermenters and begin to revive the pantry.
We will discuss starters, jars and fermentation time as well as eat delicious lunch using fermented flavours.

Bring: Glass jars and bottles. Any sad looking or surplus vegetables, even that heart of lettuce at the back of the fridge! Please bring any fermented drinks or cultures you may want to share.

COST: R500

INCLUDES: Fermentation Guide, New Skills, lunch and refreshments.

Venue: Veld and Sea Classroom, Cape Point

To book: Please email roushanna@hotmail.com

WILD FLAVOUR

Fri 24th March & Fri 31st March    and repeated on

Sat 8th April & Sat 15th  April 

This is a two part introductory session in discovering wild flavour around us and in your own gardens, led by Roushanna Gray. Discover the delicious world of seasonally available indigenous plant flavours, aromatics and fragrances, wild herbs, edible weeds and flowers and their culinary and medicinal applications.

Includes an intro, walk and talk, snacks and notes.

Time: 9.30am – 12pm

Venue: Veld and Sea classroom, Good Hope Gardens Nursery, Cape Point.

Cost: R250 per class or R400 for both.

To book: Please email roushanna@hotmail.com

Pop-Up Tea Garden, Plants + Clothing Sale

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Saturday the 13th of Feb 10am – 4pm

Join us for a day of indigenous plants, second-hand clothing and delicious food.
Where:
Nestled amongst the Fynbos in Cape Point, the Good Hope Gardens Nursery is the perfect venue for family and friends to enjoy a home-made treat and a discount on plants and clothes at this unique pop-up event.
What:
FOOD – Fresh and Botanical is the theme of the day with floral foods, organic veg and wild edible ingredients harvested in and around the nursery. Veld+Sea will be creating a mouthwatering menu with sweet and savory seasonal delights, an array of Fynbos flavoured teas picked from the Veldkos garden as well as regular teas and fresh, strong coffee. Parusha Naidoo will be joining us with a selection of her super delicious vegan treats.
PLANTS – There will be a beautiful array of plants on sale in the retail and a crazy 20% sale off all plants! The nursery specializes in Indigenous plants and has a fantastic selection of Indigenous and Fynbos plants. They grow beautiful, hardy plants and trees specifically designed by nature to flourish in local climate conditions. Take advantage of the specials on offer at this even and green up your garden or balcony with these water wise plants
CLOTHES:
Aeren Fortune will have a rail of good quality, pre-loved ladies clothing from Ireland in a selection of gorgeous fabrics – silk, wool, etc. Treat yourself to some beautiful bargains!
Please note:
The tea garden will have outdoor seating, so we suggest bringing a wrap if the wind is up or get some tea time treats as a takeaway if it starts to rain.
BONUS:
There is a fun playground for kiddies to enjoy, a succulent koppie to meander up and a 30 min Fynbos walk for the adventurous. Dogs on leads please as there are free range animals around!
CONTACT:
Please contact roushanna@hotmail.com for any questions you might have or visit the Facebook event page for updates and info.

 

Edible Landscape – by Roelien Steencamp

Edible Landscape

By Roelien Steenkamp

There is an indigenous food revival happening at the Good Hope Gardens Nursery, 60km south of Cape Town. Here, Roushanna Gray and her family are reconnecting people with the land by teaching them how to forage, plant and enjoy wild foods which grow freely and abundantly in the Western Cape.

I once overheard an unsettling story. Somewhere abroad, a man went for a ride on his horse. They trotted along a beach where rotten kelp lay piled in thick heaps .The smell was nauseating; a mixture of raw sewage and urine. It was not long before the horse collapsed and died, and his owner passed out. An autopsy declared the death of the horse, and the unconsciousness of its owner, the result of toxic fumes emitted by seaweed.

I have heard similar stories from those living very close to the sea where kelp lies decomposing – keep your room well ventilated because if you don’t, you might never wake up. Whether this was at all true or not, it fuelled my dislike for kelp: it causes headaches, stinks, blocks launch sites, dirties tidal pools, breaks propellers, etc. Little did I know that a few years later, I would gaze upon this abundant seaweed in an appreciative manner, considering it one of my favourite superfoods. Kelp has been a fertiliser for aeons. Extracts are used in thousands of products around the world. It is a huge industry, but how could it be of use to us in its unadulterated, whole form?

Kelp, among other seaweeds and algae, is considered a wild food. So what exactly does this mean? And why is it so relevant to us in this day and age?

Edible Landscape

Image by Christoper List

When I heard Roushanna Gray of the Good Hope Nursery was hosting a coastal foraging session in Scarborough, I was quick to sign up. It was a sunny Saturday and a low tide had exposed exquisite rock pools. With permits in hand, twenty of us gathered around Roushanna with notes, scissors and plastic bags. Our mission was to learn something we’ve forgotten: how to forage, prepare and enjoy what was freely available, prolific and nutritious in our immediate surroundings. In this case, it was shellfish and seaweed. Unfortunately it was red tide, which meant that the mussels were filtering harmful algae through their bivalves and were therefore inedible at the time. So vegetarian it was!

After filling our bags, we headed back to a nearby cottage where we rinsed our harvest in a tub. We divided ourselves into teams and chose a recipe to work with. There was something for everyone: sea lettuce pine nut pesto, tahini wrack coleslaw, kelp lasagne and for desert: candied kelp and seaweed ice cream. A delicious forager’s feast which hardly cost us a thing!

I was also curious about land foraging and arranged to meet Roushanna at her nursery near Cape Point two weeks later. It was a hot day, with the screeching sounds of cicadas filling the air. As Roushanna led me to my seat, I was immediately calmed by her presence, a presence that matched the serenity of the fynbos mountains surrounding us.

Roushanna’s passion for wholesome food has been in her blood since she was a little girl. “I had no plant knowledge. Everything I know now, I learned through research, exploration and my love of food. I grew up with a mixed heritage, so there was a lot of ‘fusion food’. My life out here, and my passion for wild edibles, started when I fell in love with my husband Tom. My mother-in-law, Gael, is a botanist, so we would go walking and she’d teach me how to indentify plants. This nursery has been running for 30 odd years.”

Roushanna also ran a tea garden at the nursery before dedicating more time to motherhood. “We used to serve rooibos cupcakes and fresh salads full of edible flowers and fragrant garnishes.” She pauses and a rush of nostalgia sweeps across her face, “I love how those meals surprised people. They couldn’t believe that this food was foraged from the mountains and our garden, that it could taste that good and be so satisfying. A new world opens up for them.”

Or, perhaps, I think to myself, a very old world they have forgotten…

We talk a bit more about her life at the tip of southern Africa and how it has humbled her. I ask her the burning question, “Just what exactly is wild food and can you survive on it?”

“It would be difficult and would require a lot of patience to survive on it,” Roushanna answers. “Wild foods are foods which grow in the wild, but they can also be found in urban areas, along pavements and parking lots. They are not planted by man. They are dense with minerals and vitamins. I always tell people that wild foods should be one part of their meal, not the whole of it. It adds flavour and nutrients to a dish.”

There’s something different to the way Roushanna talks about food. For her, there’s more to food than satisfying hunger. “I have become fussy since I’ve been eating this way, it’s hard for me to see those sad boxed-up specimens in shops,” she says with a shy giggle. “I feel so good after eating my own food. It connects me with the land, the seasons, the moon, the tides. It’s also very empowering to be able to source, identify and create a meal out of them.”

As we take a walk through the nursery, Roushanna points out several types of buchu and pelargoniums. We also taste some sour figs and purslane. It is a different taste, I admit to her, but it is an empowering taste which probes something long suppressed. After observing my responses, she says, “Our ancestor’s palates were accustomed to bitter foods, now our taste buds are numbed by all the sugar in processed foods. It’s about getting used to it again.”

For many, wild food brings up images of thorny berry bushes and dandelions – things we would consider weeds, or at least difficult to prepare and digest. Is it even possible to create a diverse menu from such foods? I observe the pictures of mouth-watering dishes on the walls of the room we sit in. It becomes evident that there’s a lot to work with: fruits, herbs, roots, flowers, leaves, spices, seaweeds, shellfish, seeds and nuts. Roushanna recommends taking a trip up the west coast for a taste experience, “Kobus van der Merwe, author of the recipe book ‘Sandveldfood: A West Coast Odyssey’, is a culinary genius. He would observe the shapes and colours of the sea and recreate that scene on your plate. I love going to his restaurant Oep Ve Koep in Paternoster.” Geographical location and seasons are important when it comes to foraging, she adds. We both agree that that’s an even greater excuse to travel our beautiful country – to search for food!

Roushanna also offers courses for children. Being a mother of two, she believes it vital to speak of the stories behind the plants: Where do they come from? Who ate them? How did they get their names? This helps the children, and adults, to gain a better understanding of the plants.

“My son grew up watching me forage and loves to go with me. If your children grow their own healthy foods, they are more willing to eat it. If they can associate it with something they love, that’s even better. I always add some wild edibles to all-time favourite snacks like pizza and scones.”

South Africa is a great place for foraging – from mushrooms and seafood in the wild Transkei, to the amazing fynbos and shellfish up the western coast, you’ll be busy for days. It’s worth doing some research on your next destination and speaking to locals. Searching for your own food can add an extra dose of adventure to weekends away.

Before I say goodbye to Roushanna, I ask her how she – a true forager – would describe her relationship with nature. She grows quiet for a moment, shakes her head as if in utter disbelief of how lucky she is and concludes,

“Without it, I’d be heartbroken. It is a big part of me, it is my therapy. I also enjoy watching my kids grow up in it. When I go surfing, I am humbled completely. I am in the present moment. All I think about are the waves. The act of foraging is similar. It brings me peace and happiness; it gives me a sense of place in this crazy world.”

As I leave the nursery, I drive along the cliffs bordering False Bay. It feels as if a thick veil has been removed from my eyes. I no longer just see shrubs flashing past me and rock pools in the depths below. I see an edible landscape.

Our ‘instant gratification culture’ has done a lot to disconnect us from nature. We are so used to heading off to the shops to quickly fill our trolleys with “ready to eat” foods. We have forgotten the greater gratification that comes from ‘Slow Food’ – taking our time to forage, plant, harvest, prepare and chew our food with thoughtfulness – savouring each mouthful, even if it’s something you never thought you’d ever like (in my case, kelp!).

Foraging was vital for survival before the advent of agriculture, but it is still vital today for a different reason: to reconnects us with the land.

To ground us.

Roushanna’s tips on how to eat wild:

1. Identification is the most important part! Ask an experienced guide or local. Observe, taste, smell, touch, make notes.

2. Plant the edibles in your garden. It will teach you how to identify them more easily out in the wild, as well as to develop a taste for them.

3. When in doubt, leave it alone: be 110% sure of edibility.

4. Know which parts of the plant are edible and which aren’t. Also know how to prepare the parts.

5. Never forage in a polluted space.

6. Tread lightly. Only take enough .The rule of thumb: harvest 1/3, leave 1/3 for re-growth and 1/3 for other animals.

7. Make sure it’s legal. A mussel permit which you can obtain from your post office allows for shellfish and seaweed collections, but it is illegal to forage plants. Never forage in a Nature Conservation Are, or private properties.

8. Indigenous edible plants are ENDANGERED; this is why it’s so crucial to tread lightly and to grow them yourself whenever possible.

9. Never forage shellfish during red-tide.

10. For seaweeds (kelp, sea lettuce, wrack), never gather loose floating pieces, always cut from ones fresh and attached to the rocks as close to the tide line as possible.

Roushanna’s top wild edibles:

1. Kelp (sea bamboo, Ecklonia maxima)

2. Num num (Carissa bispinosa)

3. Pine ring mushrooms (Lactarius deliciosus)

4. Veldkool (Trachyandra ciliata)

5. Wild Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea )

6. Pelargoniums (from the Geraniaceae family)

7. Nettles (from the Urticaceae family)

8. Sea lettuce (ulva & monostroma species)

9. Ice plant (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis)

10. Kei-apples (Dovyalis caffra)

11. Cape Chestnuts (Calodendrum capense )

12. Mussels (there are two edible mussels – Black mussel (Choromytilus meridionalis) and the Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis). Always eat the Mediterranean mussel first – it’s an alien!

©Roelien Steenkamp, 2015

Pop-up Tea Garden and Plant Sale – 30th May 2015

Pop-up Tea Garden and Plant Sale

Join us for a day of Indigenous plants and Indigenous edible delights.

Where:
Nestled amongst the Fynbos in Cape Point, the Good Hope Gardens Nursery is the perfect venue for family and friends to enjoy a home-made treat and a discount on plants at this unique pop-up event.
What:
FOOD – Fresh and Botanical is the theme of the day with floral foods, organic veg and wild edible ingredients harvested in and around the nursery. Expect a mouthwatering menu like scones with wild berry jam and cream, rustic garden veg quiche with freshly harvested salad greens and edible flowers, decadent Rooibos cakes, wild flavoured cupcakes and koeksisters in Pelargonium syrup. Enjoy an array of Fynbos flavoured teas picked from the Veldkos garden as well as fresh strong coffee, Ceylon, Earl Gray and Hot Chocolate with a twist.
PLANTS – Planting season has officially begun with our first rains softly falling. The nursery specializes in Indigenous plants and has a fantastic selection of Indigenous and Fynbos plants. We grow beautiful, hardy plants and trees specifically designed by nature to flourish in local climate conditions. Have fun in your garden or balcony this winter and take advantage of the specials on offer at this event.
Please note:
The tea garden will have outdoor seating, so we suggest bringing a blanket if the wind is up or get some boxed tea time treats to takeaway if it starts to rain.
BONUS:
There is a fun playground for kiddies to enjoy, a succulent koppie to meander up and a 30 min Fynbos walk for the adventurous. Dogs on leads please as there are free range animals around!
CONTACT:
Please contact roushanna@hotmail.com for any questions you might have, visit the Facebook event page for updates or go to www.goodhopegardensnursery.co.za and discover what we are all about.

Hope to see you there!

For health and strength

Hand in hand with the chilly nights and cooler days come the sniffles and sneezes. Today Kingoftheplayground woke with a cold, so we decided to make a sun tea. Sun teas are fun and easy to make and retains all the vitamins and enzymes. We picked indigenous mint (Mentha longifolia), spearmint, pineapple mint and Echinacea leaves and placed them in a jar with raw honey, lemon and a rooibos teabag. Left in the sun for a few hours, it was so deliciously aromatic and delightful that even a sick 5 and a half-year old drank it all up quite happily. If anyone has ever had to try feed a 5 and a half-year old….well, then you know what I’m on about.

Sun tea

Another amazing medicinal Must Have Growing in your garden indigenous plant is……………….*drumroll*

Artemesia Afra.

Wonder plant. Cure all. Super star.

Those are just my common names for them. The real common names are

English name: African wormwood

Afrikaans name: Wildeals

Zulu name: Umhlonyane

This beautiful grey-green lacy leafed plant is both easy to grow, has many medicinal properties and multiple uses. If you do not already have one growing in your garden, come and buy one as soon as you can! It is one of the oldest and best-know indigenous plant medicines.

They grow in full sun and are hardy perennials that grow up to 2 meters tall. They are also brilliant for your veggie garden as it repels bugs and insects. You can rub the leaves on your dogs and cats to chase away fleas, in your kitchen to get rid of ants and put in your grains to deter weevils. The fresh or dried leaves are used in infusions, decoctions, tinctures and compresses. Taken orally or inhaled in a steam bath, it is used to treat fever, colds, flu, sore throats, coughs, asthma, pneumonia and headaches. Casually awesome.

But please note NBNBNBNB do not take when breastfeeding or when pregnant. And don’t take often or in excess either.

Artemesia afra

The beetroots in our veggie garden are charging along. We have normal beetroot as well as the candy striped white and pink Chioggia beetroots or Disco Beets as we like to call them. The leafy green tops can be eaten and prepared like spinach. A win-win crop!

Beetroots in Good Hope Gardens

Well cuddle up, keep warm and don’t forget to go plant some medicinal plants in your garden pharmacy!

Tulbaghia violacea

Our plant of the month would have to be Tulbaghia violacea

Common names:

English: wild garlic

Afrikaans: wilde knoffel

Zulu: isihaqa

Image

This amazing multitasking plant is edible, medicinal and a great companion plant for your veggie garden (Insect repelling and attractive to bees and butterflies). It is a bulbous plant (part of the onion family) whose long thin leaves resemble the chives and have lots of pretty mauve flowers at the tip of its stalk. When crushed or even brushed past, it gives off a strong garlicy smell. The whole plant is edible and we use the leaves in stews and salads and chopped up in scrambled eggs and the attractive flowers can turn an ordinary salad into a work of art! Wild garlic is traditionally used to treat fever, coughs and colds (infusion of the leaves and flowers) and well as being an antiseptic and expectorant. The roots can be dug up from mature plants, scrubbed well and roasted or used like normal garlic – but take care with how much you use…its quite strong!

It is a hardy plant that will grow quickly and easily in your garden in full sun and give you flowers on and off throughout summer without needing too much water – what a plant, what a beauty – go plant one in your garden now!