We love Finsbury Park for its vibrant vibe and cultural diversity, a place where people have come and still come from all over the world. Some media outlets are less than sympathetic to people fleeing intolerable conditions and situations but as we well know, our country would come to a grinding halt without immigrants and hundreds of thousands of people have built better lives for themselves and their families over hundreds of years. So it's a real pleasure to be writing a blog about Michael Morris's next door neighbour who is one of the success stories you son't read about in a newspaper. Algerian Reda Saib has had to jump through a few hoops in his life but as the proud owner of Harvest organic food store he is yet another person working flat out to bring a useful service to the Finsbury Park community.
Reda had been running a successful coffee and pastry outlet for around 10 years before Harvest, so why the change from coffee beans to organic runner beans? "I needed a change," says Reda. “I wanted a fresh challenge, to try something outside my comfort zone and start something new and fresh. So I decided to combine my experience and expertise as a pastry chef with bringing real quality food to N4." The idea of an organic outlet came from a meeting with myself and Tim where we showed Reda a photo of the original fruit and veg shop from the late 1980s. Reda’s shop is all about quality of food. The first thing that strikes you when you walk into Harvest is the amazing smell of Mediterranean tomatoes, home-baked sourdough bread and fruits that proudly bear their natural colours, a far cry from the warehouse-stored equivalents you find in any supermarket.
"All our fresh produce is A-class," Reda explains. "I source everything myself and I choose carefully. So I'm up in the middle of the night in the markets and then I come to bake the bread." This hard work is paying dividends as the secret of this lovely store is slowly spreading around the area. And Reda has ambitious plans for the future. "I'm looking into prepping fish and meat so people can come in after work and collect a great piece of marinated and flavoured meat, put it in the oven and enjoy what is a home-made meal. And if I can get the funds, I'd like to open the basement of the shop as a juice bar." And with a nod to the growing movement of sourcing local produce from local providers Reda is keen to build a network of suppliers to feed an ever increasing demand for fresh organic produce.
Outside of a hectic work schedule, Reda follows the Arsenal and enjoys taking a good coffee over the road to Finsbury Park.
Written by Mark Rivlin : www.markrivlin.co.uk
Photos by : Michele Monticello www.michelemonticello.com
So if you are looking for quality food check out Harvest and enjoy a coffee with Reda, a quality guy who is bringing quality to his little shop next to the corner