Merryn and Ron Scott own Aloe Dale which produces organically grown fruit, vegetables and so much more.
It is wonderful to see how a simple idea has grown into a fully fledged business.
One of my earliest memories is of my grandmother’s tiny kitchen. She would send me to fetch a lemon from one of the trees for the lemon cake she was making, a sprig of parsley to garnish the savoury biscuits, a handful of mint for the roast lamb or some tomatoes from my grandfather’s vegetable garden. The tomatoes grew in old paint tins, 2 of the lemon trees grew in massive steel vats which he had salvaged from Durban harbour… Sometimes I would get distracted by Grandpa if he was picking beans or turning the compost, but Gran never complained as she really just wanted me out of the kitchen!
A favourite game was to count all the edibles on my parent’s one third of an acre. The whole neighbourhood would exchange fruit and vegetables. From time to time the Indian fruit and veg man came around and asked to buy the crop from our litchi tree or a couple of banana bunches. It is only recently that I have come to understand why they always declined. Instead they would barter a couple of banana hands or a bag of litchis for some apples, cucumber or other produce they did not grow – they preferred to share what they grew with the neighbours and would receive in return a few extra eggs from a neighbours pet chicken, a leg of lamb from a cousins farm, mangoes from up the road or avocados from Grandpa’s massive tree…
My first herb garden was grown from slips and cuttings I picked up wherever I went as I was a student with no income!
Aloe Dale emerged out of a simple idea to grow as much as we could of the food consumed by our household, horses, dogs and chickens in a sustainable and organic manner. It took a while to convince my husband, Ron, that the chemical pesticides and fertilisers he had previously relied on in his vegetable growing exploits were not necessary. He soon saw how the insect and bird diversity in our garden improved and he gave in with one last “yes dear”.
We expanded and soon had more produce than we could use, share or preserve. We looked for someone who could use our excess and found an emerging organic movement in Johannesburg. This fringe movement in the food industry felt “right” to me. I found a small company who would take our excess produce to add to their vegetable box scheme… and so Aloe Dale was born.
We also make our own artisanal style preserves, pickles, jams, cheeses and breads using the skills our grandparents grew up with. We encourage small-scale, holistic, poly cultural agronomy. We work with several local, sustainable growers, distributing for households who produce small excesses but do not have a market, NGO-run organic agricultural programmes and larger commercial internationally certified organic farms.
We are situated in Midrand and grow a wide variety of organic herbs, vegetables and fruit. We supply chefs, caterers, restaurateurs and delicatessens that care as much as we do about how the food they serve is grown. We continue to expand and diversify, growing all manner of unconventional varieties of food by special request.
To eat freshly harvested fruit and vegetables visit the Aloe Dale stall @118 Allan every Saturday morning from 8.00 to 12.30. It is wonderful to see how the community return every week to the Glen Fresh Market for fresh supplies.
We believe that everyone should grow at least some of the food they consume, even if it is sprouts or fresh herbs grown next to the kitchen sink.
“Nothing tastes as good as something that you have grown yourself! “
Learning about the stall holders and being part of the Glen Austin community at the Glen Fresh Market has made an enormous difference in my life. I am surrounded by an amazing group of caring people who inspire me.
Do you believe in buying organic fruit and vegetables? We would love to hear from you.