Mid-summer is the season where dainty courgettes become mammoth marrows almost overnight.
There are over 800 species in the squash (Cucurbita) family, with tendrils that climb and sprawl at an astonishing speed, producing masses of fruit. Such abundance calls for creative ways to use them up.
Dovehouse Organic Farm Shop stocks a wide selection of locally grown squash for you to try. Perfect patty pans – some bright yellow, others pale pistachio and lots of the crazy shaped (and utterly delicious) Yugoslavian finger fruit. Striped courgettes to grill and top with basil and yoghurt. Plentiful butternut straight from our farm to braai on balmy evenings or shred into salads. Organic cucumbers for refreshing smoothies and cooling tzatziki.
Kim was a little wary when a basket of UFO shaped Yugoslavian finger fruit arrived at Dovehouse Farm Shop, but gamely took one home for supper and was sold! “So delicious, it is my new favourite,” she exclaims.
Kim, fondly known by the Dovehouse family as Kimchi, is the calm, quiet and slightly magic woman who helps in the store four days a week. She loves living in Howick overlooking the wild uMngeni gorge, where she can swim at night, dance with fireflies, watch the moon rise across the valley, bathe in the morning mist and attend yoga classes before work.
Kim has always felt connected to natural rhythms, so it comes as no surprise that her lifestyle is as natural as possible too. She eats organic food, never wears synthetic fabric, uses natural cosmetics and cleaning products, and even earth-based pigments and dyes for her artwork. “I love to feel free and light in my body, to be energised rather than weighed down, so a simple, mostly raw, vegetable diet seems to work best for me.”
Courgettes are a favourite – which she shreds into spaghetti-like strips and tosses with a selection of herbs and foraged leaves, a little olive oil and garlic salt. The finger fruit was cut into starfish shaped slices, steamed (you could fry if you prefer) and served with delicious Baobab ‘mayonnaise’. As a little girl, Kim spent all her time outdoors exploring, picking flowers to nibble on and making nasturtium leaf sandwiches for picnics under the pine trees. Working at Dovehouse, she has learnt so much from her colleagues (who are her favourite people) and loves to be able to help customers with advice where she can. So, if you are puzzling over what to have for supper tonight, why not ask Kim – she is sure to have an unusual, healthful idea to share.
- 3/4 cup Olyvenbosch cold pressed olive oil
- 2T apple cider vinegar
- 2T Baobab powder
- 1 organic garlic clove, crushed
- 1t sweetener of your choice – honey or coconut blossom nectar
- 1/2t Good Life black Indian salt
- 3/4 cup water
- Blend all the ingredients, except the water.
- Add water slowly on high speed until the mixture it thickens.
- Kim suggests dabbling with it – add basil or another herb, sunflower seeds, more oil, less water. Make it your own.
You’ve heard of zoodles – those noodle-like strands of zucchini so delicious as a low carb replacement for pasta. But do you know about zoats? A delectable breakfast bowl, that sneaks an extra serving of vegetable into your day and is remarkably simple to make.
- 1 small zucchini
- 1/2 cup almond/coconut/cow milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 2-3 pitted dates
- 1tsp hemp powder
- 1/2 tsp chia seeds
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup organic rolled oats
Mix together than oats, milk, hemp, chia, salt and dates and leave to stand overnight. In the morning, grate in the zucchini and cook gently for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and top with fresh fruit (blueberries and granadillas are in season now) seeds (hemp, pumpkin or sunflower) and nuts (almonds
Hemp is an ancient food source that has been used by many cultures across the globe. The alkalising protein-rich seeds have a mild, nutty flavour, and are extremely versatile.
Soaring Free Superfoods hemp products are non-irradiated and certified organic, sourced from suppliers who share their values – farmers who care for the earth and embrace sustainable methods of ensuring nutritional potency in everything they grow.
“You can only truly flourish when you nourish your body naturally. By investing in your health, you can reap the rewards of increased positivity, heightened energy levels and the drive and motivation to realise your dreams.” Peter and Beryn Daniel of Soaring Free Superfoods
Add hemp powder to your favourite hummus recipe for a protein-packed dip – perfect for lunchboxes with Santa Anna nachos, cucumbers and green beans. Or replace half the olive oil with hemp oil in your favourite dressing to jazz up a simple salad, dress ribbons of butternut, lightly steamed beans or spoon onto grilled mealies.
Eating fruits and vegetables at the height of their season makes sense on so many levels. Firstly, they are super fresh and probably quite inexpensive as supply exceeds demand. Secondly, our bodies crave the nutrients of in-season produce – think mineral rich, hydrating cucumbers for hot summer days and vitamin C rich gooseberries and oranges in winter. Then, there is the small matter of carbon footprint. Food that is stored for long periods or transported for long distances requires a lot of energy – usually fossil fuel energy, which is bad for the entire planet.
This blog post first appeared as the Dovehouse Organics Newsletter in January 2019