As I write this week’s blog post, the sun is streaming through the orchard, and the fragrant smell of jasmine breezes past. I can hear the water running into the dam, and a rooster crowing in the distance. Yes, I am on a farm, a beautiful pomegranate farm, and now the new home of The Munching Mongoose. Hello Ganico!
Ganico is a certified organic pomegranate farm, situated just outside Joburg, in Muldersdrift. It’s run by Laiken and Jason Cullen, who left their past lives as school teacher and digital animator, in search of doing something a little different. Having never farmed before, it seems like a rather daunting task, but their passion for learning, and their dream for a happier, healthier and more sustainable lifestyle has made the farm a success, and a beautiful one at that.
Ganico is run on biodynamic principles. Simply put, this means that everything is interrelated, from the trees, to the soil, to the animals on the farm. Everything serves a purpose, and works towards a happier, healthier natural ecosystem. The fish in the dam enhance the water that feeds the pomegranate trees, whilst their beehives are host to bees that love the pomegranate blossoms. When you take a walk through the orchard, you are greeted by the farm’s pest control specialists, a flock of chickens. I can’t quite work out if they’re super friendly, or super suspicious, as they come dashing towards me, and then proceed to escort me on my walk. According to Jason, the chickens have brought down the pests on the farm by half. “We just let them walk around, roam and do their thing!” They even have a ‘bat hotel’ for the local bats, which also help to control pests. Ganico is a shining example of what happens when you let nature do what it does best, and the result is a fantastic harvest of pomegranates (and a few other things), and it just gets better and better each year.
Life on the farm is governed by the seasonal nature of the pomegranates. As we welcome Spring with open arms, the pomegranate trees are doing the same, with beautiful green buds. The trees are dormant through Winter, and the pomegranate fruit is ready for harvest late Summer and Autumn, between February and May. There are over 500 varieties of pomegranates, but Ganico specialises in two, Wonderful and Azerbaijani. And aren’t they just…well…wonderful! Pomegranate seeds (actually called arils) are full of antioxidants, and Jason and Laiken love to find new (and wonderful) ways to eat them; in salads, on pizzas, and our favourite – in a delicious after-work G&T!
And this wonderful (okay, I’ll stop!) little farm is our new home. Here at The Munching Mongoose we believe in doing things a little differently, in supporting local farmers, and in learning to live a more sustainable life, in harmony with nature and with others. And we hope that working on a farm as beautiful as Ganico, with incredible people who believe the same, will translate into how and what we are doing, and that hopefully all our mongaggle members will feel the benefit of this coming through in what we deliver to their homes.
Read more on The Munching Mongoose, and our journey.
Read more on Ganico.