Embracing the Arrival of Spring in the Leeu Locally Grown Gardens
"That is one good thing about this world – there are always sure to be more springs."
- L.M. Montgomery
As the days start to lengthen, we are finally preparing to bid farewell to a long, cold winter and welcome the warmth and vibrancy of spring with open arms.
The anticipation of Christine Stevens and the Leeu Locally Grown (LLG) team is particularly rewarded as they begin to witness the first signs of the changing seasons - the emergence of beautiful blossoms on the fruit trees at Leeu Estates. These delicate blooms act as a bridge, connecting the winter we have endured with the promising abundance of the coming summer.
From the organic gardens on Leeu Estates, the LLG team provides farm-to-fork produce not only to The Dining Room and La Petite Colombe on Leeu Estates, but also to Protégé and Épice at Le Quartier Français for their exquisite seasonal menus throughout the year.
The transformation from winter to spring in the Leeu Locally Grown gardens begins with the ethereal almond blossoms, their pale pink hues painting a picturesque scene across the orchard. Soon thereafter, the plums and apples join in the celebration, their blossoms offering a preview of the delicious fruits that await in the sun-kissed months ahead.
Throughout winter, the team carefully nurtured spring crops in a sheltered tunnel, and now their efforts are bearing fruit. Broad beans and peas lead the charge, accompanied by a bountiful assortment of tender salad leaves. Among these early arrivals, the courgette flowers stand out, with their radiant yellow petals, a favourite for the talented chefs who eagerly incorporate them into their culinary creations each morning.
It is also at this time that the Leeu Locally Grown garden starts to come alive with bursts of colour and flavour as pencil-sized spring onions, dainty baby leeks, bright red radishes, and orange baby carrots offer their sweet crunch to any dish lucky enough to feature them.
In the herb garden, fresh new shoots of thyme, lemon verbena, and pineapple sage infuse the air with a delightful herbaceous scent. Harvesting the first tender baby basil leaves brings immense satisfaction, and the assortment of edible flowers adds an artistic splash of colour to the dishes served at the Leeu Collection restaurants in Franschhoek. Coriander, in particular, thrives during this time, with its abundant bunches providing a source of joy for gardeners and chefs alike.
Venturing towards the Leeu Estates olive grove, the unmistakable fragrance of wild garlic fills the air. Meander along the path leading to the river, and the pungent scent will serve as a reminder of the earth's vitality during this rejuvenating season.
Finally, the sweet and sun-ripened strawberries signal the peak of spring. The beloved naturally grown strawberry crop is meticulously tended to, and halfway through the season, the team starts to lovingly harvest the delicious rewards. Each morning, they carefully handpick punnets of these delightful red gems, sending them off to the restaurants, where they will grace the palates of guests with their unparalleled sweetness.
As spring matures into late season, the days will grow warmer and longer, stoking anticipation for the long and glorious summer that lies ahead.
For now, we cherish the present and revel in the splendour of spring - the season that effortlessly marries nature's beauty with the promise of delectable, homegrown delights.
Are you ready for the taste of spring?
Contact us to make a reservation at one of the finest farm-to-fork restaurants in Franschhoek.