Village garden back in business

Volunteer Penny Neeethling serves a customer while her colleagues prepare veggie boxes.

The Somerset West Village Garden is open for business.

Bolander visited the garden last Tuesday, and spoke with founder and director Jenny Findlay.

“It is so fantastic to be trading again,” Ms Findlay said.

“We’ve had such wonderful support, and people have been so patient with us. It’s not a quick turnaround, because we’re only letting in two people at a time.

“Everybody has to wear masks and they have to sanitise, so it is taking a while, but people have been very patient.”

Social distancing is strictly observed, with patrons standing patiently in line, two metres apart at the entrance to the garden, chatting amiably while they wait their turn.

Just inside the gate, stands a table with a bottle of hand sanitiser and a sign exhorting patrons to sanitise.

The garden is abuzz with volunteers preparing and packaging veggie boxes, maintaining strict social distancing at all times.

Whereas in the past patrons could personally select their produce from what had been harvested for the Tuesday morning market, the new system caters for a preselected box of produce, to reduce the likelihood of transmission as much as possible.

The convivial engagement over the selection of veggies that has marked Tuesday mornings at the garden might be a thing of the past, but the cheerful banter among the volunteers, who are the backbone of the garden, and the wonderful fresh veggies, are still very much part of the deal.

“You can buy either a R50 box for one person or a R100 box for two people, which will contain a selection of vegetables picked on the day.

“That can be supplemented by various add-ons such as pickles, jams, honey, crunchies, and herbs,” Ms Findlay said.

“It’s great to be trading again, and we are hoping to get our programme which involves giving a hand up to street people and the homeless, back on track as soon as we can,” she added.

It is not necessary to preorder a veggie box, but patrons who wish to be advised of what veggies will be available each Tuesday, can contact Ms Findlay on 082 901 2636, to be placed on the garden’s broadcast group.

The Somerset West Village Garden is open for business every Tuesday morning, from 9am to 11am.