Former chef Shelley Pryor now tends four organic gardens on-property at the Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat in Queensland, Australia. Raised on a self-sustaining property—her parents grew all of their produce organically, made their own herbal-infused oils, and preserved fruits and vegetables for the winter—Pryor literally glows with good health, a testament to her organic upbringing and lifestyle. With an elfin ear-to-ear grin, Pryor flits through her gardens, plucks a yellow cherry tomato, wraps it in a basil leaf, and pops it into her mouth. She hates having to buy fruits, herbs, and vegetables. “I’d rather just go without,” she says. After a taste of my own basil-wrapped tomato, I understand why.
Pryor’s bountiful gardens (also a way station for wallabies passing through) provide about 90 percent of the herbs and produce served to Gwinganna guests at meal-time. And she raises silkiebantam chickens, gorgeous fluffy white birds that supply the chef with eggs. With a magnetism to rival Mary Poppins’, Pryor teaches guests how to plant sustainable backyard gardens and pack herbs into poultices that soothe skinned knees. Gwinganna’s stunning Asian-inspired spa features top-notch nurturing treatments, and the Wellness Center rounds out the circle of holistic healing. gwinganna.com