How to Spend a Summer’s Day in the Cape Winelands

(Article by Liz K)

It could be safe to say that the recent “trend” of sustainable living and knowing what exactly you are putting into your body is not so much a trend as it is now a way of life. 

We Cape Winelandians are lucky to be surrounded by farms, farmstalls, boutiques and craftsmen who gladly stand by the clichéd, (albeit very appropriate) saying: Local is Lekker!

(By Harvey Barrison)

A weekend in the Cape Winelands is a weekend spent basking in the sun’s glow, snacking on homemade organic foods whilst sipping on local wine, artisanal beers, inventive cocktails or just some good old fashioned freshly squeezed fruit juice. Markets are scattered all over region, and they are enjoyed alike by a myriad of locals, foreigners—young and old.

Stellenbosch’s Slow Market

Picking the best is nigh impossible, however there are a few which stand out; the Stellenbosch Fresh Goods Market—or, the Slow Food Market— is a firm favourite with roughly 2000 visitors every weekend. Situated at the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre, this market is on every Saturday from 9:00 till 14:00, “come rain or shine”, as their website will tell you. 

A Bit of Background

In order to truly understand and appreciate this market, you need a bit of insight into the history of the Slow Food organisation. Founded in 1989, it is described as an “eco-gastric member-supported organisation” which was started in reaction to the fast food life where people no longer cared for local food traditions, nor the food they ate and where it came from. The organisation certainly has been successful in its quest, and now has over 100 000 members in 132 countries.

What You’ll Find There

All produce on offer is sourced, grown, caught, raised, harvested, preserved or transformed by said producers; this means no long refrigeration, no over-processing, no dubious production methods and the food does not have to take a long journey to get to your mouth. 

You’ll get to pick from a variety of local olive products (pesto’s, pastes and infused vinegars and oils); hand reared poultry; organic freshly-picked fruit and vegetables; fresh breads; handmade cheese from naturally-reared dairy; authentic shwarmas; fresh biltong; and don’t forget the chocolates, tarts and pastries!

After meandering through the stalls you can enjoy a seat on the grass and enjoy some live, local musical talent to accompany your food and complement your mood.

The Treasury Market

The Treasury Market runs in conjunction with the Slow Food Market. Here you’ll find beautifully handmade jewellery, home decor items, clothing (made locally—no Chinese imports here!), ceramics, art and more. Not only is this great for us as consumers who get to support our local designers, but it also offers a platform to both up-and-coming and well-established designers.

Upcoming Events

The market also hosts some great events like the Summer Strawberry Festival coming up on 2 November. This celebration of the start of summer is enjoyed with all things berry: berry infusions, cordials, ice creams, sausages (yes—strawberry sausages!) and even pesto! The crafters also continue the berry theme with integrated designs, soaps, bath salts etc.

The Christmas Night and Day Market (also known as the Candlelight Market) is a great time to find some unique presents; it runs from 17:00 to 22:00 on Friday 6 December, and from 9:00 to 14:00 the following day. Apart from the design aspect, you’ll also be treated to some deliciously festive foods such as fruit cakes, mince pies and gammon rolls, as well as a free live theatre and music production.

Become a Market-Hopper! 

There certainly are too many top markets to mention, but if you’re looking for more, try some of the following:
Blaauwklippen Family Market (Stellenbosch) – Sundays, 10:00 to 15:00
Laborie Lazy Days Market (Paarl) – Saturdays, 9:00 to 13:00
Franschhoek Farmers Market – second Saturday of every month, 9:00 to 15:00
Pure Boland Farmers Market (Worcester) – every second Saturday, 9:00 to 15:00
Durbanville Craft Market – first Saturday of every month, 8:30 to 14:00

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