Although convenient, stopping by the grocery store to pick up ingredients for your favourite recipe creates a demand for all food produce, whether seasonal or not. In fact, we are rather spoiled for choice with the plentiful supply of both local and more exotic variations of fresh fruit and vegetables. The problem with this convenience that we have become so accustomed to, is that it results in surplus, wastage and a lack of knowledge as to where our food actually comes from. However, the idea of ‘farm to table’ completely flips this around, and is made easy by Abalimi’s ‘Harvest of Hope’.
Introducing Abalimi and Harvest of Hope
Abalimi, meaning ‘the planters’ in isiXhosa, is a Cape-based organisation that enriches marginalised communities through urban agriculture and environmental action. Harvest of Hope is one of their most successful projects, where micro farmers are given access to the wider Cape Town market, enabling them to sell their excess produce. What this means, is that we can purchase a box of fresh produce that was harvested that morning, and prepare a scrumptious dinner with the goods that evening…farm to table cooking! You can find out more information about this great service here or read further to find out about our first time experience with Harvest of Hope.
We Give It a Try
On Tuesday afternoon, we collected our box of freshly harvested veg from Herzlia Primary School in Constantia, one of the many collection points in the southern suburbs. Although we already knew what would be harvested that week, it was a great surprise unpacking our produce (somehow way more satisfying than unpacking a grocery bag from our local supermarket). Out come two lettuce head varieties, a head of cauliflower, a bunch of carrots, tatsoi, leeks and raddish, two aubergines, two lemons and two butternuts, a couple of potatoes, a pack of rocket and an avocado – not bad for R130 and all organically grown on our doorstep!
Now came the tricky part and a complete change in mindset – instead of deciding first what to eat and then buying ingredients, we had the ingredients right in front of us and had to decide what to make. Of course this meant dealing with vegetables that don’t frequently make a culinary appearance in our home, such as the tatsoi, leek and raddish. So what was the first thing we made…a soup of course! We went for the classic leek and potato soup featuring (no surprise here) the leeks, potatoes and the carrots. Here’s our recipe:
- 5 potatoes, coarsely chopped
- 5 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 1 large onion, diced
- bunch of leeks, washed and chopped
- celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- chives, finely chopped
- 200ml cream
- chicken stock
- knob butter
- T olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a deep pot and add the onion, celery and carrots. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the garlic, potatoes and leeks. Fry for a further 3 – 4 minutes.
- Add 2 litres chicken stock and reduce to medium heat. Cover and simmer for 1-2 hours.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes and blend.
- Once blended, stir through the cream and chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with your favourite chunky bread.
Although strictly speaking, farm to table cooking requires that all ingredients are sourced directly from the farm, but using Harvest of Hope is a great start! Furthermore, not only does the project help you put fresh, organic produce on the table, but also provides an avenue for the micro farmers at the community gardens to support themselves, their families and the wider community. We encourage everyone to give it a try.
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