Mick and Sal Haigh – Cafe Bloom

“Saving your own seed is the most important thing,” says Mick earnestly.

The flourishing gardens behind Café Bloom are mostly sown with seed collected the season before, or seed purchased from Mahlatini Organics in Byrne Valley.

Over many years of growing their own food, the Haighs have found that sowing organic seed is best – “it just grows”, whereas the commercially produced seed is often a hit and miss affair. Now much of their saved seed has acclimatised to the misty Midlands – even tomatoes, after seven years of growing and adapting, are doing well. Regular doses of Chamomile tea and a thick mulch of comfrey leaves appears to be just what tomatoes like.

Sal believes that food security is the most incredible knowledge for children to possess. She and son Jo, spend time in the garden everyday – it is their favourite activity – and their garden keeps expanding, spilling onto the pavement now too. “We always have excess and food to share.”

They recently bought some ‘Negre’ chickens who are supposed to produce blue eggs – Jo is waiting patiently for this to happen!  Mini horses, Sam and Patchouli convert the paddock beside their home into manure which is turned into compost. “What is growing on the soil is just what that soil needs – so the weeds and grasses the horses eat, are the right food for the soil when we add it back as compost.” says Mick.

In the Café, they find inspiration for the dishes each morning by wandering amongst the veggie beds. Intuitive cooks – they don’t use recipes but believe that food growing in the same season is naturally complimentary and produce some creative and exceptionally tasty meals for their popular lunchtime buffet.

The atmosphere is relaxing – one feels as if you have just popped home and grabbed a plate of something which looks great and tastes delicious. “We love seeing city kids tucking into salads and soups and really enjoying it” they say.

Café Bloom has become a de rigueur stop for many urbanites travelling past and of course, is an absolute favourite with locals. The homemade bread, herb pestos and fresh farm eggs are gone as soon as they are unpacked. 

The Haigh’s philosophy is: Local is not only lekker, but ethical and good for the environment, too. Right outside the kitchen door is as good as it gets.

also see previous post: https://plantabundance.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/blooming-marvellous/

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