By Victoria McGuin

It’s all about the gardens at Homegrown Café in Palmwoods, not only as a relaxing place to sit and enjoy your coffee or meal, but also as the extensive kitchen garden provides the opportunity to grow produce on site using their own compost and worm juice. 

This popular café is lovingly run and nurtured by Sarah Wright, who is a huge asset to the local community. Sarah, along with her excellent team, creates long table dinners, seasonal foodie events, produce-growing and sustainability workshops, and regularly supports local artists, community and environmental groups.

Head down the picturesque lane to the side of Homegrown and you are in the breezy tiered garden, which makes the most of the Sunshine Coast climate, with plenty of room to bring the whole family. Coffee is sourced from Green Bean suppliers and roasted on site in the Tin Shed, providing balanced flavour and optimum freshness. 

“The food at Homegrown has a strong emphasis on using what is seasonal and locally available,” Sarah shared with me. “Meals are prepared to order with inputs such as pasta, focaccia, brioche, soups and sauces made from scratch.”

Recently the café has been making more of their own jams and pickles using produce that is often wasted when there is an over-abundance during peak seasonal times. 

The cafe is part of the global Slow Food movement that promotes good, clean and fair food. These principles link the pleasure of food to their community and environment by consideration of food culture and the use of environmentally sensitive practices. 

“Homegrown is almost waste free, sending only an equivalent of a cup of waste to landfill daily,” said Sarah. 

“We achieve this by establishing relationships with suppliers that reduce packaging of inputs, recycling plastics and glass bottles, composting organic waste and sending any food scraps to local chicken flocks.”

She took me for a walk into the veggie gardens and showed me the worm farm and compost corner. “I’m very proud of our composting, but it’s not very photogenic!” she laughed.

“We are all about respecting quality, and we achieve this by using tried and tested food preparation techniques,” Sarah continued.

“Essentially we want to share this in a caring, considerate environment and we hope to provide an experience that nourishes our community.”

Admittedly, whenever I am in Palmwoods, I love to try whatever seasonal produce is being championed in Sarah’s delicious recipes – most recently the homemade tagliatelle with smoked salmon dill and beurre blanc.

So, if you are in the mood for food full of fresh flavour, or a homemade slice of something sweet, head to this welcoming hub that many consider the heart of Palmwoods.