Anyone For Lettuce?

Dapples of early morning dew roll down the leaves of lettuce, onion, beetroot and broccoli. A few flower plants give a splash of colour (and also attract pollinating insects), while amongst the leaves of the strawberry plants, bright red berries hide from busy hands, and hungrier mouths.

Early morning in one of River Valley Lodge’s organic vegetable gardens.

What, a vegetable garden? Surely River Valley is all about adventure, rafting, inflatable kayaking, horse trekking and all those other outdoor buzzes.

So true, but a while ago we recognised that there was more. There was more to interacting with the natural world than running white water rapids, or riding over green hills – even if there were amazing views.

Recognising that there was more was part of a mind shift, a shift to how we saw our place, our human place, in the natural world. A world of incredible diversity and beauty, but also vulnerability. We recognised that humans, us, are a part of this natural world and when we damage it, we also potentially damage ourselves.

We recognised that all our problems with weeds and pests could not be solved from buying a “solution” off the shelve.

Buying and using that “solution” off the shelf at some stage almost always results in unintended consequences.

Following A New Pathway

The further we have gone down this path, this journey, of recognising our place within nature, the more alarmed we have become, and no more so than with the food we eat. With this in mind, we looked at what we fed our guests, and how we could at least in part provide them, and ourselves, with healthy, chemical free food.

While is not practical to grow all our vegetables, or source all our chemical free food stocks locally, we decided to give growing organic, nutrient dense vegetables a shot.

Giving Growing Organic Nutrient Dense Vegetables a Shot

The organic vegetable gardens at River Valley started in a small way, with a great deal of trial and error, a process that has not stopped. Now we have got to the stage where for 9 months of the year all our salad requirements are being met from our own gardens. It is quite something to taste salads where the main ingredients were still in the soil no more than 30 minutes previously.

This season we have gone a step further and are now growing a range of main crop vegetables in addition to salad varieties. These main crop varieties are finding their way into our dinners as well as lunch and breakfast.

There is no doubt that there is quite a bit of work in going down this path. Shopping at the local  Supermarket would be much easier, and substantially less hassle.

However, there are simple joys in growing and eating hand tended organically grown, and oh so tasty food. As we continue this River Valley journey, a journey where our focus is on being a regenerative company, one working with nature, we hope at times you will be able to share this pathway with us.

Brian Megaw