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Elgin’s new farm-to-table gem, Her Harvest, will make you love vegan food

The latest addition to Elgin Valley is a fitting celebration of its produce: Her Harvest is a deli shop and vegan café located on Rosenhoff Farm. Clare Kuiper, the “her” behind Her Harvest, was born and raised on the farm and has a BSc in Conservation Ecology and a Masters in Sustainabilty. Believing that what we eat fundamentally impacts how we feel and that, in turn, the quality of what we’re eating is determined by how food is grown and handled, Clare’s environmental background and personal passion for wellness have integrated in the approach to both farming and food.

The restaurant’s mission is to work with nature, to farm in a way that is environmentally sustainable, and to share the quite literal fruits – and vegetables – of their labour with others in order to show how delicious and nourishing this type of food can be. While the menu and mission may be saintly, Her Harvest’s authentic, down-to-earth approach banishes the pretension that often comes with trendy consciously sourced #vegan restaurants.

Fast facts

Food type: Health food, vegan Food, vegetarian, gluten-free
Best for: Lazy weekend brunch with friends.
Cost: R85 average main meal
Star ratings: Food: 5; Service: 4; Ambience: 3

Food
Carnivores prepare to be converted or at least to have your perceptions of vegan food overhauled. At Her Harvest you’re in for a hearty farm breakfast of plant-based ingredients sourced locally or from the farm itself that’s devoid of eggs and dairy – and yet you won’t miss them at all.

Rather than replacing traditional breakfast regulars with vegetarian/vegan alternatives – which very often makes their absence more obvious – these dishes, created by Clare and plant-based chef Nathalie Larsen, are perfectly conceived and flavourful in their own right and, as a result, beyond comparison. The avocado, chimichurri and scrambled chickpea tofu – one of the five open-faced toast options served on 100% Danish rye, buckwheat and rosemary, or sourdough millet and sorghum bread – neither resembles tofu like you know it nor traditional scrambled eggs. Served on two pieces of toast with a sauerkraut sprout salad on the side, it’s a salty, savoury, umami, utterly satisfying breakfast. For those in search of something sweeter, the open-toast option with banana and nut butter or the buckwheat crepes allow you to try the Her Harvest choc-hazelnut spread. There’s also granola that’s made on-site or a photogenic smoothie bowl served with seasonal fruit and edible flowers.

For lunch, try the crustless quiche, a vegan alchemy of oat cream cheese set in a chickpea custard and served with a probiotic salad, or the daily tasting platter that allows you to sample a selection of Her Harvest fare that is available in the farm shop. If you have room – portions are generous and the flavours and ingredients are concentrated – finish your meal with a chocolate brownie and a scoop of salted coconut and wild honey ice cream, one of a choice of three flavours.

Drinks
More like a liquid dessert, the Chocolate Mylk will leave a satisfying chocolaty moustache on your top lip: The slightly bitter cacao powder is smoothed with vanilla, sweetened with coconut nectar, offset with a dash salt that gives it a hint of salted-caramel flavour, and blended with nut mylk into a thick, rich and creamy drink that will have you tempted to use your finger to get the dregs out of the mug. For brunch it’s fantastic pimped with a shot of espresso. The Golden Latte – a blend of turmeric, honey, coconut oil and warm nut mylk – is given a kick with black pepper and ginger paste. In addition to coffee and organic herbal teas, there are cold-pressed juices, smoothies, kombucha and ginger beer. Look out for the Lassi smoothie with coconut yoghurt and oat milk. If you regularly request dairy alternatives in your coffee and are familiar with the sting of the almond milk tax, you’ll be pleased to note that coffee prices are pretty standard (R22-R25). And if you’ve been wine tasting and are keen to sample some of Elgin Valley’s finest vino over lunch, it’s BYO.

Service
A small team of friendly staff makes you feel welcome. The rural pace is predictably unhurried, but the service and kitchen are efficient. The farm shop is open from Wednesday to Sunday and the café is open Saturday and Sunday 9am – 3pm. Her Harvest accepts credit cards and SnapScan, but no cash.

Ambience
Her Harvest’s setting offers a charming snapshot of the verdant Elgin idyll where the air is pure, the trees are dripping with apples, and cheerful chickens roam free – the perfect foil to experience the food philosophy. While away the hours under the trees or, if the weather is bad, in one of the converted barn buildings. The unadorned, white-washed interiors are punctured with windows that frame lush pastoral views and let in the clearest country light – ideal for taking photos of the food that looks as vibrant as it tastes. Modest tables dressed with white table cloths and farm flowers are once again unintentionally picture perfect.

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy.

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