Nursery cafe bears fruit

Chef Jason Brereton and The Garden Feast owner Maree Planner. Photo by Damjan Janevski.

By Alesha Capone

A Werribee garden nursery that has been operating for 47 years is giving customers a taste of something new – an on-site café that takes natural ingredients from pot to plate.

The Garden Feast’s tasty new direction is the brainchild of owner Maree Planner.

Her parents, John and Lyn, started the business, then known as Grevillea Nursery, in 1972.

Mrs Planner studied horticulture at university and started working full-time at the nursery in 1991.

She said the idea of opening a café came when she realised fewer young people were coming to the nursery. The plan seems to be paying off in spades.

Mrs Planner said that during the café’s opening weekend, they ran out of food after serving about 600 people in two days.

She said that many ingredients used in the café are grown in the nursery, while the café’s chefs – Jason Brereton and Craig Huntley – were passionate about showcasing native food plants.

The café, at 63 Railway Avenue, also uses produce grown by Werribee South farmers and offers a “Werribee South greens” breakfast.

Mr Brereton said he enjoyed foraging for natural ingredients along the coast and around Ballan and Daylesford, using his finds in café meals.