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Posted on: Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Slaley Farm Market – with an emphasis on food, family and fun

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Slaley Farm Market

Slaley Farm Market

‘Well,’ says the brightly attired pancake man, whose name is Siegfried Kitching and whose kitchen skills, I assure you, are rather admirable, considering I can’t flip a pancake to save my life, ‘there is sugar and cinnamon, syrup, or sugar, cinnamon and syrup!’

I look flummoxed. Not my fault, promise. But not having had time for an extra cup of coffee before heading out to Stellenbosch and the Slaley Farm Market is beginning to tell, and now it’s too darn hot to contemplate another, despite a stall selling what looks like really good coffee. My five-year old son is quietly bursting for a pancake (and he does few things quietly), which of course, would be the very first stand in the entire place, wouldn’t it?

My pointed and barely disguised threats to perhaps wait for something a little more healthy, and wouldn’t he like to sample that bread over there – ‘look it has butter on it?’ falls on deaf ears. And when Siegfried smilingly suggests a squirt of lemon, I willingly believe that this will nullify the effects of the sugar and nod my head furiously whilst grimacing. Five minutes later and my child is climbing the marquee poles, literally. But no-one seems particularly bothered. And there are plenty of other children running around.

The Slaley Farm Market happens once a month. It’s been running for a year, and its a meeting place, if the stall holders are to be believed (and I generally find that they’re the best people to speak to when it comes to the success of a market) of a group of friends, who also happen to be stall holders, and who really enjoy displaying their wares at this market.

Slaley Farm Market
Photographs – Left: Early days yet, the crowds arrive later / Right: Siedfried prepares pancakes

‘Most of us work other markets during the month’, offers Marc of Fordabelli’s, the artisan bread bakery, ‘but we really enjoy coming to this one as it’s a place we can relax in’. Marc and his wife Carol bake some extraordinarily tasty breads (I know as I’ve already sampled a loaf from the Stellenbosch Fresh Goods market) most of them from a home grown, sourdough or levain that Marc says he’s been nurturing for about thirteen years now, and only stoneground flour.

By now I’ve acquired a loaf of sourdough to take home and am grateful for the fan that the Jouberts have got rigged up close to their stall. It’s going to be a scorcher of a day, but it should remain cool here at the market, most of which is set up along the stoep of the Slaley wine cellar and on the grass immediately infront of this, directly under a series of Bedouin tent-style marquees, bright pieces of material blowing in the breeze.

I corner Eugene, the organiser of the event, who is incredibly enthusiastic about the market. His is the coffee stall and I equally as enthusiastically infuse the strains of coffee whilst he relays the ins and outs of the market to me. Eugene’s in marketing, and he immediately tells  me what makes this market different – ‘we want this place to be a space where families gather, where friends meet friends’.

Slaley Farm Market
Photographs – Left: Mouthwatering temptations / Home-baked goodies

So, yes, it’s a food market, but the focus isn’t on the food so much as creating a space for family gatherings. I look around. The stalls have been carefully selected. There are not many of them, probably about 30 in all, so it isn’t one of those markets where you simply move from stall to stall until you can no longer stand. This market, like many of the other food markets in and around Cape Town, has a series of trestle tables and chairs at which to eat, and all around these, is the food.

A little way off is a jumping castle for the kids, but it is in the blazing sun, which might not be that much of a draw card. But Eugene has been rather smart about who he attracts to the market. He’s teamed up with TMR (and before you ask, I didn’t have a clue what it meant either) the motocross, enduro, supermoto bike crowd, who spend most weekends, well, on their bikes riding cross country. They’re the guys who whizz past you on the N1 in their big bakkies, motorbike on the back.

Slaley has provided their grounds on that side of the M23 (the farm’s estate is divided by the road) for a cross country every month. I peer around the side of the wine cellar, and there under the trees are the first few bikers that have already completed their route, busy cooling off. Most of them meet their wives and families back here and pull in for breakfast, or a quick drink (there is a fully licensed bar in the wine cellar, and wine tasting).

And off to the right is a group set in for the morning under a Rondebosch Boys High School tent where they are holding a potjie kos and braai competition – winners announced later.

Slaley Farm Market
Photographs – Left: Carol with Fordabelli’s breads / Right: Shwarma … mmmmm

There is plenty to keep one entertained, and the venue is a seriously pretty one, with lovely views and a relaxed environment in which to enjoy food. And food there is a plenty. Stalls include: fresh produce, cheese, breads, olives (Blue Sky), biltong, cupcakes, sushi, delicious looking schwarmas, honey, gourmet coffees, herbs and plants and a few handpicked crafts.

And if you haven’t heard about Slaley Wine Estate it’s probably because the renowned cabernet, merlot, shiraz and chardonnay producer exports well over 80% of its produce. But you can sample and buy it direct from the estate, as part of your breakfast/lunch experience.  They’ve been producing their own wines since they stopped delivering their grapes to Nederburg in 1995.

Where & When?
The pretty wine estate lies on the Kromme Rhee Road just off the R44 between Stellenbosch and the N1. The estate also produce their own cold pressed extra virgin olive oil that are also availabe at the tasting room.
Visit the market on the last Sunday of every month between 9am and 2pm.

Stellenbosch Links:
Stellenbosch Attractions
Things to Do in Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch Hotels
Cape Wineland Accommodation
West Cape Accommodation

Wanda Coustas


Wanda Coustas has written in one form or another for 10 years, seven of them as a copyblogger. She has travelled the Western Cape extensively and the rest of the country in protracted road trips that have given her both joy and an ongoing relish for experiencing what she writes about first-hand. She is a trained opera singer, poet, eurythmy dancer, philosopher, and bee whisperer.

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