Category Archives: Markets

Steam Train at the Elgin Railway Market in Grabouw (2018-12-16) Markets | Photo Gallery 25 SEP 2019

An excellent addition to the Grabouw/Elgin Valley tourism scene is without a doubt the fantastic Elgin Railway Market. Residing in an old apple packing warehouse right on the Elgin train station, this Art Deco/Art Noveau styled market is an absolute must visit come weekend time – especially on days when the steam train comes rolling in!

With a carefully curated list of stall vendors, the market has a little taste of something for everyone, with flavours from all over the world, including proper South African market fare, on offer. A few well made arts, crafts and designs are on show, and of course there is local craft brewed gin to be had. (Seriously, gin is everywhere at the moment).

And don’t forget to admire the fantastic metal and wood work that has gone into crafting the ornate Art Deco styling of the building itself!

Then there is the innovative Liberty Books bookstore parked outside, showing off the second addition to their book-bearing fleet, the Liberty Books Brigade – a 1970s Provincial Library Bus! (I’ve mentioned their Burning Books fire engine on these pages before.)

But of course, the star of the show for me is whenever the Ceres Rail Company comes steaming into the station with one of their classic locomotive and coaches combination. On this particular visit pictured below, it was Jessica, a Class 19D-3321 steam locomotive from the 1940’s that chugged into view bearing its load of market visitors!

So yes, trains were admired, food devoured, and photos taken:

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Fresh Farm Produce at Wild Oats Community Farmers Market in Sedgefield (2019-01-05) Markets | Photo Gallery 20 AUG 2019

There are a lot of weekend markets dotted around Cape Town and the winelands, but to be honest, very few (okay fine, Oranjezicht City Farm Market counts as one) are actual proper farmers’ markets. That said, even if there were a couple in easy reach of you, you would still be doing yourself a massive disservice if you never ever make the trip up along the Garden Route to Sedgefield, home of the multiple award-winning Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market.

Situated adjacent to the beautiful Swartvlei lagoon on the outskirts of Sedgefield, this 20 year old, world renowned farmers’ market was first launched back in 1999 and operates every Saturday morning from 08:00 to 12:00 (07:30 in Summer) come rain or shine. The market brims with the choicest locally produced foods, including all sorts of free-range meats, cheeses and dairy, bakes, and of course, fresh-from-the-field fruit and vegetables.

(And given the huge amount of locals and visitors who descend upon the market, there is a mass of vendors catering with a range of fresh breakfasts, coffee and other treats!)

The stalls are all covered, there are loads of trees to provide shade for everyone, and the constant buzz of people happily milling about or sitting and enjoying company of friends and family over a good cup of coffee (or pancakes like we did) makes for a wonderfully charming and vibey atmosphere.

The market is of course pet friendly, and if you want a little more visually, then the equally impressive Mosaic Outdoor Market at the Scarab Arts & Crafts Village is literally across the entrance from the Wild Oats Market.

It is fun, authentic and home to some truly delectable tastes of the Garden Route.

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Food and Crafts at Lourensford Market in Somerset West (2018-12-16) Markets | Photo Gallery 20 JUL 2019

I do think that it is impossible not to love the Lourensford Market experience. Situated on the gloriously scenic (and historic) Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West, everything about a visit to this well run (and well supported) market screams class, from the well maintained estate, manicured gardens, and exquisite sculptures, all the way through to its excellent vendor space.

The traders themselves are a wonderfully diverse lot, with delicacies from all around the world on offer, some good wine, beer and ciders available, and loads of sweet treats wherever you look, all mixed in with a creative mishmash of art, clothing and craft stalls. (And on this particular visit, even a 3D Printing booth).

The live music and excited vibe completes the experience, and as if all of that isn’t enough, then there is still the rest of experiences of the estate itself on offer – wine tasting, a coffee shop or two, art galleries, clay pigeon shooting, and thanks to the recent(ish) introduction of the MOTOR Studio, even vintage cars on display!

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Steam Trains at the Elgin Railway Market in Grabouw (2018-08-11) Markets | Photo Gallery 15 JUL 2019

I have mentioned the wonderful Elgin Railway Market in these pages before, but a visit to this fantastic market with its breathtaking 1920s Art Deco inspired styling is even better if you manage to come through on a day that the brilliant Ceres Rail Company rolls one of its immaculately restored vintage steam locomotives into the station.

Like I previously said, the market on its own is a wonderful experience, well worth a visit if you do ever get the chance. Located in an old apple packing warehouse that has been transformed with the most gorgeous of steel, iron and wood finishes, the market features plenty of communal seating, an incredible atmosphere or vibe if you will, and some really interesting food and craft stalls, with their offerings stretching all the way from artisan gin through to couverture chocolate.

(There is technically a small play area outside for the kids, complete with climbing wall, as well, but seeing as I haven’t really had the girls running around that particular space yet, I can’t really comment all that much on it.)

As for the steam train element, watching one of these smoke billowing beasts pulling into the station is a crowd favourite, even more so when you realize that the train is actually ferrying people in from Cape Town to Elgin on what must be a thoroughly special trip. (So yes, one more thing to add to the never ending list of Cape Town adventures still to be had then I guess! :D)

On the day of this particular visit, it was beautifully restored Bailey, the 1930’s Class 19B No. 1412 steam locomotive, doing the charge to Elgin, with the equally stunning Dominique, the late 1940’s Class 19D No. 3332 steam locomotive, hitched to handle the reverse work.

Basically train heaven then.

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Art Deco and Apple Juice at the Elgin Railway Market in Grabouw (2018-07-22) Markets | Photo Gallery 09 JUN 2019

The Elgin Railway Market is an incredible addition to the Elgin Valley tourism scene. Launched in 2018, the market resides in an old apple packing warehouse (built in the 1940’s by Italian prisoners of war and right on the Grabouw train station itself) which has been refurbished and styled with the most elegant of wood, steel and wrought iron in a decidedly artisan Art Deco/Art Noveau theme. (Hint: It’s gorgeous.)

The end result is a visually captivating space which, thanks to its two level stacking with an open center, always feels open. The mouthwatering food stalls and clever craft vendors all operate from within dedicated booth spaces and the abundance of long tables and benches means that there is almost always seating available for you to sit down with your family and enjoy some of the decadent treats on offer.

(In fact, one of the things that this market does that sets it apart from other market experiences is that the food vendors all supply you with your food on an actual ceramic plate, complete with knife and fork or whatever other eating utensil may be required. A small touch that very much heightens the experience in my opinion.)

There is a small play area with a climbing wall outside, and of course lots of live music on offer, but it is the excitement that comes with the Ceres Rail Company’s vintage steam train that pulls into the station every now and then that most often steals the show for the kids and adults alike.

Honestly, it’s a treat.

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Ciders and Coffee at the Lourensford Market in Somerset West (2018-03-04) Markets | Photo Gallery 21 JAN 2019

The Lourensford Market in Somerset West has easily the nicest selection of market foods and crafts on offer, with constant live music and of course the immaculate grounds of the estate to bolster the offering even further.

I have written about this great market before and as is always the case, this particular visit was as relaxing as one could get (even if we did arrive a little too close to the market’s end). The girls had sweet treats, I went a little Portuguese, and the Everson’s ciders were (as always) superb.

And if you don’t quite feel like the market vibe, then there are a couple of restaurant options, one coffee cafe, and one wine tasting room to visit instead. Which we did.

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A great way to while a lazy Sunday away then.

Related Link: Lourensford Market | Lourensford Estate | The Coffee Roasting Company | Somerset West

Farmers Market at True Grit Bike Park in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village (2017-07-22) Markets | Photo Gallery 09 DEC 2017

If you are into mountain biking, trail running or hiking, then the True Grit Bike Park, tucked away at foot of the mountain alongside the Knorhoek Estate in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, is most certainly somewhat of a hidden gem.

Having bounced back after the terrible loss incurred through the devastating fires that tore through the Knorhoek area a year or two ago, the True Grit Bike Park is a popular bike riding venue for both young and old, hosts numerous birthday parties and corporate events, and is now even home to its very own farmers market – aptly named the True Grit Farmers Market of course!

Chantelle and I had the opportunity to visit the True Grit Farmers Market back in July this year, taking advantage of a childless Saturday morning (the girls were sleeping over at one of the grandparents’ houses) to check out the new market for ourselves.

(In hindsight though, given how popular the children’s bike track looked, we should probably have dragged them along with us!)

At this stage the market was still pretty small, but given that this then means that it isn’t completely packed full of people as say Root 44 or the Oranjezicht City Farm Market get, neither Chantelle nor I was really complaining.

There was after all, some good food to choose from (Chantelle is in love with the veggie burger that she always picks up whenever, and wherever, she tracks down the stall), live music to enjoy, an audible buzz from a happy crowd, and of course some magnificent views to take in from what is a stunningly beautiful environment.

Bike trails, pony rides, a Zorb orb guy, and wide open spaces also then mean that the kids should be more than okay in terms of keeping themselves busy, so although a bit off the beaten track, perhaps not a bad place to check out if you are looking for a friendly, out in nature, farmer’s market option then.

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I guess a re-visit with the kids is still very much in order then.

Related Link: True Grit Farmers Market | True Grit Bike Park | Facebook

Ducks, Doughnuts and Croissants at Vergenoegd Wine Estate in Stellenbosch (2017-09-16) Markets | Photo Gallery 05 NOV 2017

On a day that would go on to include falcon and owl watching at Eagle Encounters, admiring art installations at Spier, browsing through antiques at the Stellenbosch Toy Museum, building pizzas at Weltevreden’s The Carnival and lastly a visit with my folks in Bellville, the morning started off in a much more sedate fashion with a session of doughnuts and chocolate croissants while waiting for some rather special ducks to arrive.

I am of course referring to Vergenoegd Wine Estate’s now famous Duck Parade, something that my girls currently find both fascinating and thoroughly entertaining.

The estate actually has quite a nice little Saturday routine set up now, starting off with their early Family Breakfast Run (or Walk) event which then leads into the small but pleasant Saturday Market that seems to always features some great, chilled music and a very relaxed vibe.

(Oh, and being a wine farm there is naturally opportunity for some impromptu wine tasting as well.)

There are a couple of activities for the smaller kids to partake in (my girls in particular were very, very keen for a ride around the vlei on the blue quadbike “train”), and as far as I can tell, it looks like the market is pretty pet friendly.

The highlight for a lot of people is of course the running of the ducks, when Vergenoegd’s 1000+ strong “duck squad” makes its appearance for their morning duties, with the trained Indian Runner ducks marching along past the manor house before heading out into the vineyards to hunt down all those pesky/delicious snails!

For interest sake, the manor house pictured above houses Vergenoegd’s onsite restaurant – but funnily enough we have yet to actually give it a go. All in good time I guess…

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Hard not to recommend the Duck Parade as a morning outing if you have little kids. (Or just love quirky looking ducks I suppose).

Related Link: Vergenoegd Wine Estate

Japan Day 2017 at Blaauwklippen Family Market in Stellenbosch (2017-03-12) Markets | Photo Gallery 10 SEP 2017

Back in March of this year, the local Japanese Embassy hosted their fifth annual Japan Day celebrations in the form of a Japanese-themed, entertainment-filled market day in conjunction with the weekly Blaauwklippen Family Market in Stellenbosch (who themselves LOVE hosting themed market days anyway!).

Now we as a family love the Blaauwklippen Market thanks to it being such a great, family friendly affair (besides, Catje’s Pancakes makes hands down, the best pancakes found at any of our local markets!), and so the addition of even more free (and Japanese-themed!) entertainment made it a proper no-brainer to visit on the day.

So that’s exactly what the girls and I then did.

We first kicked things off with a bit of a stroll around the lovely, historic Blaauwklippen Estate, admiring the white Cape Dutch-styled walls (well in truth, only I was admiring, the girls were busy picking up leaves and acorns),  and reveling in the breathtaking mountain views on offer from the estate.

Next we picked our way past the horde of international tourists (there for the wine and not the market), before picking a spot and settling down in front of the main stage.

The event kicked off with some words from the Japanese Ambassador and the KFM DJ hosts, followed by some energetic drumming from the always entertaining Tamashi Daiko taiko drumming troupe.

Following that, we browsed through the entire market, lingering past all the unusual Japanese food and craft exhibition stalls, before stopping for a fair bit in front of the Judo exhibition mat, something Jessica ended up taking quite an interest in!

As expected, we feasted on pancakes, bought some kids story books, and then ended off our market visit with some time spent hanging around the kids play area, with the girls enjoying pony rides and of course a trip on the ever present Blaauwtrein quadbike train ride!

In other words, yet another perfect market day outing.

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(Honestly, Blaauwklippen is always nice to visit, regardless of whether you are there for the market or for some wine tasting and fine dining.)

Related Link: Blaauwklippen Family Market | Blaauwklippen Wine Estate | Office of Consul of Japan in Cape Town