Aidé is the backbone behind The Brasserie’s thriving edible gardens throughout Cricket Square.
She has just finished harvesting 50 pounds of the fragrantly sweet star apple for the kitchen and is taking the final passion fruit to The Wicket; a popular ingredient in our Juiced@ menu. “It’s important for me to be outside in the garden. I love the outdoors and could never see myself working in an office.”
In the shade house alone, Aidé cares for 18 different vegetables, six fruit varieties and over 25 herbs to feed The Wicket, The Market and Brasserie restaurant customers that value the local, fresh and seasonal flavours grown just meters away.
“It’s important that people know where the food that they eat comes from and I believe it’s my job to teach people. If they can see the produce in front of them as it is here when they come to work everyday, hopefully it will inspire them to eat locally and seasonally and reduce food miles.”
Beyond the shade house you can embark on an edible adventure around Cricket Square to find, 11 varieties of eggplant, avocados, naseberries, cashews, starfruit, star apples, grapefruit, all spice, kaffir lime, ackee, guava, soursop, sugar cane and mangoes, just to name a few.
Tomatoes climb up the square boundary and watermelons lace wooden crate structures amongst the parked cars. Ever stopped to think about how a pineapple grows? Look down and you will see pineapple heads immersed in the soil, building roots and preparing to hoist more pineapple fruit above their tropical foliage.
A qualified biologist, Aidé grows all her own seedlings in the nursery using the seeds from the previous harvest and transplants the crops regularly as is required by the kitchen’s appetite.
“For those wanting to grow food in a small space at home, it’s important that you plant an assortment of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Different plants attract different insects and so by growing a variety there will never just be one dominant insect or pest eating your harvest. This is called biology control; reducing or mitigating pests and pest effects through the use of natural enemies so that you don’t need to use pesticides.”
The introduction of our Brasserie bees has boosted production levels significantly as they work endlessly to pollinate the crops, and the nearby ‘Chateau Chooks’ must also be acknowledged. Aidé makes her own sustainable compost using the green waste from the restaurant and the chicken manure from the coop. For those plants that need extra care like our favourite edible species of orchid, vanilla bean, Aidé concocts her famous compost tea by diluting this mixture in water and distributing it onto the leaves.
So next time you venture into Cricket Square, stop and observe all the delicious produce being grown around you, give Aidé a wave, and be thankful that you have the opportunity to enjoy this abundant food basket right on your doorstep.