Anybody who knows me should know that I love a market and The Litchi Orchard Market in Umhlali, KwaZulu Natal is no exception to the rule. Since moving from Cape Town, in my eyes the Mecca of markets, to a farm just outside of Stanger a year ago the second point on my ‘to do’ list (after finding a decent hairdresser of course!) was to find a great market. The Litchi Orchard Market ticks all those boxes.
The market has become for us, a place to get a cup of coffee, a bacon and egg roll for breakfast and with a bit of luck, bump into friends for a catch up. With a wide range of fantastic traders, there is something there for everyone.
My first stop is for the mouth watering bread and pastries baked by a young German couple … the focus of the morning is not to get there early enough to find a decent parking spot, it’s to get there before the rye and seed loaves have sold out!
Other traders include bespoke bakery, Lemon Canary. Their beautifully laid table is heaped with red velvet cupcakes topped with red hearts, perfectly made macaroons, chocolate cupcakes adorned with ‘chuckles’, puffed up chocolate éclairs and a decadent coffee cake to name but a few.
The Beastruck Coffee Roastery is, as the name suggests where one can purchase a cup of coffee and bags of coffee beans, sourced from all over the world. Wooden tables and chairs set up outside the roastery make for the perfect place to sip on a coffee and perhaps a macaroon from Lemon Canary.
It is quite easy to find enough at the market to stock your pantry. Umhlali legend, Cindy is always there with her seasonal, homegrown, fresh vegetables. I’ve often bought bags and bags of produce and after she has tallied it all up have handed over the meager sum of R100! Shopping at the market definitely has its advantages.
Also on display at The Litchi Orchard Market is a wide range of pickles, curried relishes and Cindy’s out of this world lemon curd. Her samoosas are the best on the North Coast; little golden triangles of goodness and to leave without testing her chilli bites would be a sin!
Apart from the ‘food’ side of the market, the ‘art’ section displays a selection of antiques, clothing, gorgeous framed embroidery, stoneware and graphic design. My nieces and nephew were kept busy with the wooden ‘Toys from Oupas Shed’; beautiful, handmade toys ranging from a mini kitchen with stove and cupboards, to sun loungers, an ironing board, aeroplanes and tractors!
In addition to the Saturday market which takes place on the 2nd Saturday of the month from 09h00 to 14h00, there is now also a night market. The night market originally only happened once per quarter but due to its growing popularity they now take place on the last Friday of every month from 17h00 to 22h00.
Expect great food and live music – take your own picnic blanket in case you aren’t early enough to nab a table!
The Litchi Orchard Market can be found on Seaforth Avenue (next to Driefontein Nursery), Umhlali, KwaZulu Natal.