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Cath Boome In The Nursery

Fine dining in apple shed


Farming is ceaselessly evolving. At first, it was all about food for survival for the farmer and his family. Today, farming is big business. Scientifically and economically speaking. Yet, it is still about survival. Financially as well as inspirationally. Value-adding and agritourism are concepts paving a new way forward. Exactly why Catherine Boome turned an unused apple packing shed into a country café on Cheverells. Gerrit Rautenbach went for lunch.

The pome fruit farm, Cheverells, situated in the heart of the beautiful Elgin Valley, has been home to the Boome family for three generations. At first, they used to pack their fruit themselves, but this changed in the early 80’s when it was a better option to send fruit to co-operatives for packing.

This means the apple packing shed became a storeroom. Next to the shed was a neat row of huge trees doing not much other than spoiling the magnificent view from the shed over the Elgin Valley. Catherine (Cath after you’ve had lunch there) and her husband, Selborne talked a lot about the concept of turning this shed into something that would appeal to visitors to the Elgin Valley to add value to the family business. When the Covid-19 lockdown kicked in in March 2020, they decided on the concept of a country café, and it was the perfect time to do it.

The Shed Is On A Working Farm
The old apple shed, now a country cafe is on a working apple farm.

“We made the decision to embrace agritourism on the farm a few years ago by converting two dilapidated buildings on the farm into cottages for people looking for a farm stay. The renovation of the shed was the obvious next step as it was not being used,” Cath explains to me as we sit down to lunch. “I had previously worked with tourism in the Elgin region and saw the potential for a destination that spoke to visitors to the Elgin Valley about apple farming and thought that the shed was the perfect opportunity to expand our agritourism offering.”

And I realised she’s doing it extremely well when the Salmon Poké bowl with smoked salmon trout, avocado, baby spinach, mange tout, edamame beans, steamed sushi rice, carrot ribbons, pickled ginger and Cheverell’s unique miso drizzle arrived at my table. Accompanied by a glass of Lace Sauvignon Blanc from Van Almenkerk’s just up the road. That’s another great aspect of this restaurant. It’s all about Elgin. The menu is seasonal and designed by gourmet chef Laura Truter. Believe me, I happily selected the Poké bowl, but it was not an easy choice, the other dishes all sounded so good.

Apart from using their home-grown apples in most dishes, including desserts like the Cheverells apple and frangipane tart which Cath refers to as “a work of art”, they also sell freshly picked apples during harvest time in The Shed. You weigh your apples in at R20 per kilo, pack them in a good old-fashioned paper bag and off you go. Apart from that, they offer apple picking to tourists during harvest time, but strictly limited and controlled. Mostly, the apple pickers end up having a merry brunch in The Shed. Mostly, Cath’s clientele comes from local surrounds, Hermanus, Kleinmond, Onrus, Somerset West even as far as Cape Town. A lot of people visiting the Valley for a weekend for weddings, or a mountain bike race come over as well. Many international tourists are also returning after Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed. The Shed is open from Wednesdays to Sundays from 08h00 to 15h00 and is always buzzing. Book your seats! Business lunches are catered for and sometimes they do evening events, like gourmet food and wine pairings with some of the local wine farms.

Smoked Salmon Trout Poké Bowl
Smoked salmon trout poké bowl.

Value-adding to the farm business, however, didn’t stop at feeding people. The Shed also offers a gift shop, wellness studio and a beautiful glass greenhouse nursery. The interior is big enough to host small weddings and private functions for 80 guests. The two quaint and upmarket self-catering farm cottages have everything you need and boast beautiful views over the apple orchards and the valley.

The Elgin Valley is a superior corner of this beautiful country of ours. The Cheverells Farm Shed is something quite special. But oh, believe me, that Salmon Poké Bowl is next level. To see the rest of the menu and to make your booking, go to

Royal Gala Apple Orchard On Cherells.
Cheverells’ Royal Gala apple orchard.

Cheverells Farm in a nutshell
This is a third-generation Boome farm. Grandpa Boome was a stockbroker in London but moved to SA and bought this farm of 47 hectares in 1950. His son, Selborne’s father, eventually took over and farmed it while Selborne grew up and started his career playing professional rugby for Western Province and the Springboks. After retiring from professional rugby in 2007 he worked for Fruitways until his father retired and he took over the reins at Cheverells. Today 33 hectares of the farm are under deciduous fruit, mostly apples, but some pears too. The cultivars include Granny Smith, Royal Gala, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Braeburn, Pink Lady, Top Red, Sundowner and Packham pears.


Also read: The blockhouse experience – Hortgro and Value adding on fruit farms – Hortgro

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