“This isn’t the biggest one I’ve grown,” Nabiha Koriaty says of the enormous zucchini sitting in her Wagga cafe. “The biggest one, I can’t even pick it up.”
Mrs Koriaty smiles warmly and picks up a regular-sized zucchini.
“We stuff these with lamb and pinenuts, then cook them on a tomato base,” she says, “but I get about 50 of the big ones each year.”
Gardening is a way of life for the Lebanese restaurateur. Mrs Koriaty personally grows a lot of the produce she serves up at Nabiha’s Kitchen and working in the garden is one of her secrets to good health.
“I’ve been gardening since I was eight years old in Lebanon,” Mrs Koriaty said. “It wasn’t like here where there’s plenty of water, I had to walk half an hour to fetch water from a spring for my garden. You had to do it many times.”
Natural food, Mrs Koriaty said, was the reason she had only been sick once in more than 40 years. Beyond the obvious benefits of good nutrition, she said working in the garden helped keep the body active and the mind peaceful.
“I get up at 6am, look after my chickens and grow my zucchini, eggplant, spinach and cucumbers,” Mrs Koriaty said. “It’s all natural and healthy. I’ve been in Wagga for 43 years and only had one cold.”