Harvest Newrybar is something of a triple threat, with a deli, coffee cart and restaurant all jostling for attention in a beautiful old Queenslander in Northern New South Wales. We chatted to Cafe Cultural Manager, Ema Lindner, to find out all about how her day unfolds.
5.30/6.00am // I wake up and have a black coffee and my first breakfast, before heading straight to CrossFit in Byron Bay where I train most mornings. It’s then home for second breakfast, shower and to get ready for work – I’ve been part of the family for almost 3 years, working across all areas of Harvest. I’ve always been a very early riser, so working mornings on the coffee cart is such a nice way to welcome in the day and watch the town come alive. Our incredible bakers are the first to arrive at work though – their mornings usually start anywhere between midnight and 3am.
6.30am // We open and our first customers arrive. Harvest opened in the village of Newrybar in 2007 – the restaurant uses food sourced from local artisan producers and our own gardens, and has grown over the years to include a bakery with a 116-year-old wood-fired oven and artisan delicatessen with adjacent edible garden. We also run a program called ‘Grow’ at local schools, inviting students to learn all about the process of growing, gathering and eating – bringing together the community and connecting them with our environment.
7am // The morning rush begins with the workers that have trades, heading out early. Our regulars are an incredible bunch of humans that visit day-in and day-out for their coffee needs. People of all ages fill up our community at Harvest – they always come with enthusiasm, jokes, and everything else that’s going on in their lives. It’s funny how people open up to their barista… coffee and conversation just go hand in hand. Learning our customers’ names is first and foremost for making people feel at home – from there you get to learn about their lives more and more – their children names, their work and hobbies, and of course their coffee order, so you can get it started as they walk towards the coffee cart.
9am // This is when mums and bubs usually come by for a coffee and a wander through our gardens. Janine and Rachel are our two amazing permaculturists who keep the gardens abundant, and you can spend hours wandering through them looking at everything that’s been planted for our chef team. We also have an incredible wild food researcher and forager, Peter Hardwick, who works for Harvest full time. He provides our chefs with wild, native and locally sourced foraged ingredients which play a huge role on our menu, and specialises in specialises in under-utilised native Australian ingredients including those seen as weeds. Sustainability is a social responsibility now. We have a grey water system, we provide reusable cups and we’ve installed on-site water carbonation and solar panels. In the future we plan to align with our own farm, to enable us to use 80% of our grown produce. We want to use Harvest to speak loud but tread light.
We want to use Harvest to speak loud but tread light.
11ish // Our lunchtime rush begins any time from now. In the restaurant the Ballina prawns served with lemon aspen and kipfler potatoes are a big favourite, and you can never pass up a slice of our heavenly house-baked sourdough with our house-made cultured butter. In the deli we’re also famous for our pork & apple sausage rolls and our spinach & ricotta rolls, which usually sell out on weekends. We can’t remove them from the menu! The chefs also make us heavenly staff meals every day, and we usually sit together when time allows, or sit down in our gardens. We’re incredibly lucky!
The chefs also make us heavenly staff meals every day, and we usually sit together when time allows, or sit down in our gardens. We’re incredibly lucky!
3-4pm // Things in the deli start to quieten down but in the restaurant we stay open through to dinner service, so there are usually lots of long lunches followed by drinks on the verandah to watch the sunset. After work I’ll go for a walk along the beach and jump in the ocean. For me, working in hospitality is all about the people – meeting them, learning their stories and creating friendships. The food and wine is a plus too… but to love what you do so much you don’t even think of it as work is beyond amazing.
For me, working in hospitality is all about the people – meeting them, learning their stories and creating friendships.