Meet Megan McCarthy, Boschendal’s Food Garden Manager
If you’ve visited Boschendal recently, you’ll know that a big focus at the wine estate is the incredible Werf Food Garden. The garden is absolutely abundant and this is in part due to nature, but also largely to do with the team who look after it – led by garden manager Megan McCarthy. We sit down with Megan for a few minutes to chat about the garden, but also to find out a bit more about what makes her tick.
What has been the best part about creating the Boschendal Werf Garden?
Seeing how kids respond to the space. It’s so amazing watching them reconnect with their food and realising where it comes from.
What influences what gets planted in the garden?
As far as choosing and planting the perennials (herbs etc), most of this is in line with what our chef (Christiaan Campbell) at the onsite restaurant (The Werf) requires long term. The medicinal and aromatic plants are something I’m very passionate about. This provides an amazing educational platform when conducting tours with the public. With regards to annual crops, if you eat every week you have to harvest every week, which means you have to plant every week. Maintaining the balance of crop cycles, deciding what to plant and where, weather patterns and kitchen needs requires fine planning, always with the bigger picture in mind. My plantings are planned months in advance. Also, besides functioning as a highly productive garden, it’s also about creating a space that people can relate to aesthetically, as well as draw inspiration from.
Do you have a favourite time of day in the garden?
Early evening when everyone has gone home and the birds come to roost. It’s magical!
What are you looking forward to planting this winter season?
I’ve really missed fennel bulb this summer and broad beans of course… hmm and parsnips!
What are the challenges of running a garden such as this?
There are certain realities of climate change – we’ve had an insanely hot summer after a dry winter. Oh, and space – as a grower you will always have to sacrifice growing space to your bread and butter lines. There are certain items I wish I could grow more of, but I view every m² in monetary terms. At the end of the day, organic or not, a garden needs to be financially sustainable as well.
Favourite current herb in the garden: Tarragon
Book are you currently reading: Sputnik sweetheart – Haruki Murakami (my favourite author)
Your favourite way to end the day: Taking my dog for a swim
Chocolate or vanilla: Mango
Food item you can’t live without: Coconut milk
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