Welcome to The Chef’s Garden @ Epicurean.In 1995, I purchased 2 hectares of land on the outskirts of Hastings which formed the centre of my, then, new business, Epicurean Supplies. In addition I also leased some adjoining land, making a total of about 20 hectares and started growing herbs for restaurants. From an early age my two passions have been piano and horticulture – as a child I made my own compost and had a vegetable garden, which I was known to tend rather than go to school. My first career was as a classical pianist – both playing and teaching – while I still love to play, it is growing and organics which, for the last 20 years or so, has been the focus of my life. My second career started in the mid-1980’s when I become the gardener at Weleda where I was responsible for growing and caring for a range of medical plants that are used to make the Weleda range of natural, organic products and medicines. At Weleda the biodynamic principals of Rudolf Steiner are used and it was here that I pursued my lifelong passion for growing following organic principals and took it beyond the domestic garden. While at Weleda I also started growing vegetables along the same principals and following an enquiry from a Napier chef who was looking for a supply of fresh herbs, herbs also. One enquiry lead to another and before long it was time for me to take the next step of starting my own business. As the business grew, I started growing some less common vegetables, celeriac and cavolo nero were two early successes. Today, The Chef’s Garden @ Epicurean grows over a 100 different crops throughout the year, from micro-greens to cavolo nero, and supplies restaurants, supermarkets, organic food stores, food processors, caterers and home cooks. While we are not a certified organic grower, The Chef’s Garden @ Epicurean and I personally have a serious commitment to organics and believe passionately that you must work with nature not against it. At any one time The Chef’s Garden @ Epicurean employs 15-20 people.
This is made up of a small core staff which is supplemented by Wwoofers (Willing Workers on Organic Farms). A number of years ago we joined the Wwoofer program. This worldwide volunteer program gives travellers (generally young people) the opportunity to work and experience life on organic farms. Some Wwoofers stay for a few weeks, others a few months and I like to think Wwoofers leave with a deeper understanding of what’s involved with organics so they can have an appreciation of where our food comes from. People who have lived here often say that this experience has been a life changing one.
This is a little of my story and that of The Chef’s Garden @ Epicurean, if you would like to visit us you are more than welcome and we would love to give you a guided tour of the garden. It is always good to be able to share our enthusiasm for what we do with others.