WORDS Celeste Jacobs PHOTOS: Supplied
Situated in picturesque Franschhoek, Le Poirier is taking a particularly wholesome approach to farming by using principles of permaculture and regenerative agriculture.
Nestled between oak trees, surrounded by mountains and overlooking a river, the architecture, interiors and landscaping at Le Poirier (aka “the place of pears”) were designed to sing from the same sheet, and are completely integrated.
“The south-facing entrance references the Cape Dutch manor house, wrapped around a farmyard with a vineyard,” says architect Martin Kruger. “From here, the house has all the charm of Cape vernacular style, with a sleek-lined, contemporary twist. On the opposite side, facing the river, it opens up so that you can see the view of the mountain – which is quite spectacular.”
Landscaper Danie Steenkamp worked closely with Martin and owner Paula Disberry to ensure that the courtyard and gardens spoke the same design language as the surrounding landscape and the architecture.
Of Le Poirier’s landscaping and growing process, Paula says, “We use pear trees as a framework – as they die, they are replaced with other species of fruit and nut trees to create a food forest.”
Alpacas have taken on the role of adorable lawnmowers: their grazing not only manages the grasslands, it also increases biodiversity and soil health.
At nature’s pace, hens control aphids on crops until more predatory insects return and the farm finds its equilibrium. And the worm farms are supported by organic food waste from local restaurants as well as the farm’s neighbours, which is proving to be both environmentally friendly and cost-effective.
The flavoursome organic treasures grown of Le Poirier are available to restaurants and individual consumers, who enjoy the added benefit of knowing exactly how they were produced.