Updated: May 27
There we stand, a motley crew of farm-virgins… who have grown up with identical, plastic-packaged vegetables harvested in the neat rows of supermarket aisles under a neon-lit sky, so it is quite an adjustment to be wandering up and down the confusing swathe of green in this vegetable garden. We are participating in a ‘Farm to Table Cooking Experience’ at Wegraakbosch Organic Farm and Dairy, an off-grid, family-run farmstead in the heart of Magoebaskloof, living in harmony with their surroundings.
Clutching our ‘shopping lists’ we bravely head out to harvest the ingredients needed for today’s cooking lesson with culinary dynamo, Laaika Moosa. Since we have not got a clue what a beetroot, carrot or potato look like in their natural habitat, we are lucky that we have experts in Laaika and Michi Kröger. While they dig into the fertile ground like motivated rock-rabbits, we walk around aimlessly, poking cautiously at the lush undergrowth which surprisingly yields red strawberries, purple beans and yellow flowers. Excitement grows as we recognise cabbages and parsley on our own without elaborate clues from our hosts and Michi eventually has to herd us towards the bathtub-washing station to get us moving on to the next stage which is consolidating our stash and giving the vegetables a good scrubbing.
Having already filled our phones with astonishing photos of ourselves brandishing a charismatic carrot or getting up-close-and-personal with a ripe strawberry, we had to ditch the instagram feed for some real-life moments of chopping and dicing our colourful collection in preparation for the magic moment when Laaika transformed the ingredients into a rainbow salad and a fragrant Asian salad dressing with ingredients from her secret chef’s box. She grovelled around in the coals of the wood-fire, brandishing charred blackened blobs which mysteriously became a beautiful plate of smokey beetroot, yoghurt and caramelised macadamias. There was a Mediterranean salad of green beans and tomatoes, a rich and more-ish mushroom risotto with a wild mushroom found on the farm moments before the cooking began. Laaika seamlessly changes gears when she gets a delicious new ingredient like this, incorporating it into her menu without a second thought, much like the yellow flowers which we ate voraciously once she had cooked them up and added an salty-sweet dressing which had us licking our fingers for the last delicious drops.
Needless to say, the happy crew left with full tummies, happy hearts and the biggest smiles on our faces having faced our fears of fresh vegetables and been inspired by Laaiksfood to create divine dishes with the freshest, seasonal ingredients grown in paradise.
Explore a working, organic farm, learn how to take seasonal produce from the field to your fork with flavourful dishes. Harvest and learn how to use farm-fresh, seasonal produce to create slow food in a beautiful setting. Next Dates: 18 February / 18 March 2023. Contact 072 370 1886 / 083 366 8999 for more information or to book your place.