Tag Archives: market

Train Rides at the Century City Natural Goods Market (2017-01-29) Markets | Photo Gallery 08 MAR 2017

I like the Century City Natural Goods Market. Not because we’ve traded there in the past, but rather because of the always enjoyable vibe that emanates from this particular market.

The atmosphere is laid back, there is always chill music on the go, you have the openness that comes from being situated in Central Park, you are surrounded by the gorgeous modern architecture that makes up Century City, and most important of all, this always feels like a market that is catering directly for families as opposed to just trying to look cool.

That said, it is a little sad to see the market in its current shrinking form. The number of stall holders is definitely and very noticeably diminishing, which is a pity because as the stall holders become less in number and thus less diverse in offerings, so too does the number of visitors also eventually drop.

Nevertheless, there is still more than enough life in the market, as the girls and I found out for ourselves with an impromptu trip through to Century City at the end of January.

As expected, the music was good, the mini train ride lots of fun, the dog show via Dogz Cool entertained the kids, and all those little treats like hand-folded ice cream, fudge and millionaire’s shortbread delicious!

Not a bad way for the girls and I to start off a day that would eventually see us slumming with the Ostriches down at the Cape Town Ostrich Ranch!

(Naturally, I greatly annoyed the girls by taking pictures at every opportunity that it occurred to me to do so! These are some of the better ones that I decided to hold on to…)

As always, a handy map:

Related Link: Century City Natural Goods Market

Feeling the Vibe at the Root 44 Market in Stellenbosch (2016-11-20) Markets | Photo Gallery 26 FEB 2017

The Root44 (or Root 44 depending on what marketing material you look at) market is one of those unusually nice markets precisely because so much money has been thrown in behind it. (Also, the fact that its surrounds are so damn pretty doesn’t hurt either!)

There is literally loads of seating and chill areas (more than enough to cater for the massive crowds that seem to visit the market each and every weekend), plenty of different stall vendors, evenly split between crafts and foods, constant live entertainment, and even better still, actually roofing which make this one of the more weather resistant markets in the area.

(One of the only minor complaints that I have is that they stole away most of what was an okay kids play area and commercialized it into an offering that is okay if you plan on hanging out at the market for most of the day, but completely overboard in price if you are just popping in for a half hour long visit.)

Whilst both Chantelle and I actually prefer Somerset West’s Lourensford market in terms of the actual food stalls, there is no denying the absolutely pleasurable vibe that you get from visiting Root 44 – thus effortlessly retaining its spot as one of the most popular Saturday morning hangouts in the Stellenbosch surrounds.

(Oh, and have I mentioned that its weekly Parkrun is apparently one of the prettiest in Cape Town?)

We took a bit of a break from visiting markets last year, with these photos from November 2016 being one of the few occasions that we did actually venture down to Audacia’s grounds for a Root 44 market excursion… meaning that we are probably now somewhat overdue another Saturday morning pancakes fix! :)

Bonus: As always, here is a handy map, just in case you want to figure out for yourself where in the world this place I’m talking about actually is:

Related Link: Root44 Market | Facebook

A Bobotie Jaffle from the Paardevlei Farmers Market in Somerset West (2016-11-19) Markets | Photo Gallery 13 DEC 2016

I popped into Paardevlei with the girls for a quick visit to the farmers market there the other day, and I’m happy to report that it looks like they are still running nice and strong.

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Unfortunately for the traders, thanks to a particularly blustery wind on the day, the number of visitors were a bit on the short side – but when you are being accompanied by two energetic little girls running about on either side of you, then I find that quieter is usually better! ;)

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Jessica’s first tooth had officially fallen out, and so the idea was to treat her to something nice at the market – which was why I was particularly ecstatic when we spotted the stall selling softserve ice cream!

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I’m not sure, it did look like perhaps the number of traders is slightly less than the last few times that I visited the Paardevlei Farmers Market, but on the whole I thought it a pretty good showing – quite a few varied and interesting stalls (mostly food, with a few arts/crafts and garden related vendors mixed in), and as always, the old warehouse was alive with the bustle and music one usually associates with one of these markets.

(In other words, always a better experience than a visit to the mall!)

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Amazingly, after the girls had finished devouring their ice cream (which melted super quickly thanks to that wind!), I convinced them to head back inside, where I endeavoured to introduce them to the world of the bobotie jaffle.

Even more amazing was that Tannie Anna se bobotie jaffle turned out to be a surprising hit with both girls.

Who would have guessed…

As always, a handy map to the market:

Related Link: Facebook

Century City Natural Goods Market… and Lindt! (2016-11-27) Markets | Photo Gallery 30 NOV 2016

I spotted on Facebook that the Century City Natural Goods Market was at last kicking off for the 2016 Summer Season, and seeing as we had in the past spent quite a few Sundays selling cupcakes there as part of the Chantelle’s Cupcakery food markets phase a couple of years back, I was eager to head out that way and catch some of that good old nostalgia vibe.

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Getting the girls on board was remarkably easy of course – just one mention of the Temperance Flyer mini train being at the market was more than enough to have them jumping up and down with excitement!

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As always, the market was being held on the big green circular Central Park in the heart of Century City, right next to Railroad Square and of course Intaka Island.

The main trading action was all taking place under a large central Bedouin tent, with the other food trucks/trailers being accommodated along the wings of the market space. There was plenty of shaded seating and tables available (all very popular due to the great Summer’s weather on the day), with live music coming courtesy from the talented Capetonian singer Ryan Kidwell (former front man of the reggae outfit The Little Kings).

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For the kids, there was a magic show courtesy of family magician Magic Nick (which sadly we missed due to arriving too late), a jumping castle, a zorb orb, and of course the Temperance Flyer train!

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Interestingly enough though, and I’m not sure if it is just because it was the first market of the Summer Season or perhaps an indication of something else, the market certainly seemed a LOT smaller than what it used to be in terms of the number of traders on the day.

Sadly, this then meant that there wasn’t a heck of a lot of cool/interesting food choices on offer (like say what you might find at the bigger market cousins like the massive Root 44 or Lourensford), but nevertheless, we all managed to find something that we liked and in the end had a good morning soaking up the great sun, music and vibe that one can only get from coming to an outdoor market like this!

(So, maybe worth jotting down, but come the evening of the 7th December from 4 to 9pm, they will be having their first ever Summer Night Market which could be pretty cool to attend as well!)

Having enjoyed our time spent at the Century City Natural Goods Market then, we next headed down the road to the gigantic Canal Walk shopping mall, literally the first time in years since I’ve last been there. (We don’t come through to this side of Cape Town much in case you were wondering!)

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It is as always, an easy on the eye shopping centre, one of the nicest in terms of both architecture and design, though we didn’t have all that much time to admire our surroundings because Chantelle was pretty much focussed entirely on one very important mission – locating the newly opened Lindt boutique chocolate store ASAP!

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Seventh heaven for any lover of Lindt let me tell you, especially because you can buy flavours there that you can’t normally find on the retailer shelves. (Amazingly enough, Chantelle actually shared her Lindt haul with both the girls and myself. Talk about true love! :P)

(Oh, she wanted to check out Dunkin’ Donuts as well, but they were far too busy for us to be bothered with trying their stuff out. Plus, I was rather pleased to see that Baskin Robbins is hitting South Africa in the near future as well. I LOVED checking out all their ice cream flavours during my Japan 2014 trip!).

Anyway, here’s a handy map to Central Park if you want to catch the next Century City Natural Goods Market!

Related Link: Century City Natural Goods Market | Facebook | Canal Walk

Pancakes at Blaauwklippen Family Market (2016-07-10) Photo Gallery 24 JUL 2016

After a year or two of going to quite a few weekend markets, this year has seen us attend pretty much none! However, it was the Sunday just before I was to leave on my business trip to the USA, and with Chantelle at home with us for a change, we decided to treat the girls to some pancakes and ponies at the Blaauwklippen Family Market… though unfortunately for Jess’ sake, there was nary a pony in sight when we got there!

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However, the disappointment was short lived, as we pretty much went directly to the (long!) queue at the ever popular Catje’s Pancakes stall in order to grab a big bunch of pancakes for the Lotters.

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The market was super busy with people, so getting the pancakes took a while, but the plus side of this though was that it gave Chantelle plenty of time to browse through the other stalls and put together a nice selection of different snacks in the process!

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If you have never been to this market before, then you’re missing out, because it is definitely one with the nicest vibe. There is always a good buzz, the live music never disappoints, the kids are generally entertained, and there is a brilliant selection of arts, crafts, fashion and food stalls for the browsing.

Plus, the venue itself is quite the stunner!

(Oh, and because it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t really come up with any excuse not to cap off the day with a braai once we eventually got back home!)

sdr

Related Link: Blaauwklippen Family Market | Blaauwklippen | Catje’s Pancakes

The Paardevlei Farmers Market Relaunched (2016-04-02) Photo Gallery 19 APR 2016

After being closed for a bit thanks to problems with leases, liquor licences and who knows what else, I’m very pleased to see that our local Paardevlei Farmers Market has recently (and super successfully) relaunched – and I am happy to report that it is great to have them back in action!

IMG_20160402_113947 the new paardevlei farmers market shed

I had paid a visit to the Paardevlei Farmers Market at its old location once or twice before, and ultimately despite the great buzz and atmosphere that it brought to the table, I came away disappointed with the cramped and dark nature of the Triggerfish building it was housing itself in.

But all that has now changed with the new location, a massive, easy to find shed that retains that vintage, industrial feel of the first incarnation, but this time with more than enough space and light to actually make this Saturday morning market feel more welcoming and definitely prime it for some excellent future growth!

IMG_20160402_114557 vegetables for sale at the paardevlei farmers market

There’s not a massive amount of traders on the floor just yet, but I’m sure that will change pretty quickly, and besides, they pretty much have all your needs covered – fresh produce, warm and cold drinks, decadent delights, and of course pancakes.

(Sadly though, the pancakes on offer are from Pure Pancakes – who still haven’t got their recipe right, meaning pancakes with too much bicarb and thus a horrible aftertaste/texture on the tongue!)

IMG_20160402_114147 entering the paardevlei farmers market shed

Nevertheless, we loved the vibe, the music, the atmosphere, and am definitely excited to watch this farmers market grow!

Related Link: Paardevlei Farmers Market

Pancakes at Paardevlei, Milkshake at Mondeor (2015-10-03) Photo Gallery 31 OCT 2015

At the beginning of the month, whilst Chantelle was working her weekend shift, Jessica, Emily and I nipped out to surprise her by buying some flowers from the Paardevlei Farmers Market.

IMG_20151003_122036 jessica eating pancake at paardevlei farmers market

The market was a lot, lot quieter than last time, so it was a more relaxed visit for the girls and me, with us picking up a fun toddler story book for Emily and some pancakes for Jessica.

Speaking of the Paardevlei Farmers Market, I actually received a mail from the organiser Elsje Schoeman regarding my post about our visit to her market on opening day, and whilst annoyed at some of my commentary, she was quite upbeat about the fact that they had secured an official Parkrun association for next year and that they were in the process of looking for a better premises to run the market out of (one of my gripes had been the unsuitable building that the market currently operates out of).

However, things appear to have gone downhill since then – on October 23 Paardevlei Farmers Market released the following to their Facebook page:

“PAARDEVLEI FARMERS MARKET STATUS: Due to the non-compliance of Trigger Fish for illegally selling beer without an on consumption licence, we have decided to retract from operating our market on their premises. We have been victimised, our marketing signs for directions have been removed with intent, we as the market owners were dictated to what and how we can sell. We were promised a building size of 300 square metres and ended up trading mostly outside the Trigger Fish Building. Due to the ongoing bullying by the owner and the enforcement of signing a very one sided contract [which will be also published], we will endeavour to continue with our market in another building. For now, the market will be closed until further notice. Extensive alterations to this heritage building has been done prior to the opening of the market without any approval from the City of Cape Town.”

And given the “strong” character of Elsje (who we had worked under a few times during her involvement in managing the Slow Food Markets – Stellenbosch and Willowbridge), it was no surprise to see this even more angry post come in two days later:

“Luckily social media is a platform to open discussion, and yes, the market is very prepared to face the music for any negative feedback, the sequence of events: 1. we applied for an event at The Foundry Building and was granted a permit; 2. we were bulldozed to trade at Trigger Fish with a contract that was limiting us to grow organically and dictated by someone who wanted to open a market on his premises 2 years ago; 3. on the launch date of the market, Saturday 29 August, someone reported the non compliance of Trigger Fish to the police, a huge reputational risk for us 4. the market was not allowed to sell any coffee, wine or mcc to pair with food dictated again by the current tenant, 5. we sourced our own vegetables and we take the risk at the end of the day, 6. the original 300 square building was promised to us, we could only use less than a 1/3, 7. the times of the market was dictated to by the owner of Trigger Fish, it changed 3 times, 8. we were bullied many times, threatened that they can close the market anytime, 9. they tried to find a reason to work us out when they realised we are sourcing a new building 10. our signs were damaged and removed, the security went into our store room without our consent, 11. R5000 fines were introduced if we exceed our market times, but we were the only ones bringing feet to Trigger Fish 12. this is our story and we do not have anything to hide and carry a very transparent authentic business ethic. Bullied, victimised and discredited is an understatement in the manner in which we were allowed to trade.”

Pity. So for now Paardevlei Farmers Market remains closed, which is sad because I rather enjoyed the closeness of the location. Nevertheless, I look forward to seeing what they have up their sleeve when they make their big return!

IMG_20151003_144320 craig lotter with emily at mondeor restaurant

Seeing as Chantelle was feeling a little left out on the day though, I organised for the girls and I to meet her for a milkshake at Mondeor Garden Restaurant during her split, which of course was a hit with the girls.

Milkshake, jungle gyms and sand art – what more could a girl possibly ask for? ;)

Related Link: Paardevlei Farmers Market | Mondeor Garden Restaurant

The Merry Widow in Hopefield (2015-09-12) Photo Gallery 03 OCT 2015

As I mentioned earlier, a couple of weekends ago we posted the kids off to the grandparents and following a not so great Friday evening date night, hit the R27 to travel along the West Coast for a quick spot of flower viewing in the West Coast National Park.

Itching to stay somewhere other than our usual haunt of Jacobsbaai (purely in the interest of trying something else), Chantelle found us a spot at The Merry Widow Country Retreat, one of Hopefield’s possibly only two advertised guest houses.

IMG_20150912_152425 at the merry widow guest house in hopfield

Whilst an important and bustling hub of the West Coast in days gone by (the only access to the towns of Vredenburg, Langebaan and Saldanha was through Hopefield), the construction of the big national roads, the re-routing of the R27 and the R45 in particular, meant that the church town of Hopefield has subsequently shrunk – and in truth, has been relegated to little more than a one horse town these days.

It has a couple of tiny shops, a small hotel and… pretty much nothing else.

(The Air Force Base Langebaanweg, as well as the West Coast Fossil park – 22km and 25km west from town respectively – falls within town limits though, so that’s something. Oh, it does however have excellent Internet connectivity – always nice in our modern connected era.)

IMG_20150912_134830 the mill in hopefield

Anyway, The Merry Widow also actively facilitates Hopefield’s popular Saturday market, The Mill Country Fair, held in the old Hopefield flour mill, adjacent to the Merry Widow property – itself a restored 1880-built homestead.

Sadly though, an encounter with a long gravel road on the outskirts of Darling caused us to do a u-turn and backtrack, meaning that thanks to our Beulah breakfast and this unscheduled extra drive time (saw some beautiful fields of flowers along the way though), we made it to Hopefield and its tiny bustling market a little on the late side – so late in fact that most of the people had already packed up and gone home!

(Thankfully though, not everyone had yet left, meaning we could still grab a couple of delicious baked goodies that went down super well with the superb coffee courtesy of The Merry Widow.)

IMG_20150912_140653 at the merry widow guest house in hopfield

All the Merry Widow’s rooms are particularly good looking and well decorated, but pleasingly we got the awesome Stone Cottage, a stone built, spacious room, which I instantly fell in love with – despite Chantelle’s shivering given the naturally cool air as a result of the stone walls!

IMG_20150912_142217 stone cottage at the merry widow guest house in hopfield

Given the location, the atmosphere is pretty laid back, we took in the evening bird life, slept like kings, and enjoyed a fantastic breakfast the next morning on the outdoor stoep, taking in a refreshing, tranquil West Coast Sunday morning!

(Of course, that isn’t all we did there – after the Saturday market goodies, we visited the Simply Bee shop and education center, marveled at the beautiful church, Chantelle napped, and I strolled and drove about Hopefield, taking in a good look at what once was obviously a thriving town but is now very evidently not.

I also found a pretty cool spot that gave me a good view of flowers and Hopefield’s wind turbine farm – a view that my cellphone camera naturally completely failed to adequately capture.)

IMG_20150912_162406 wild flowers in hopefield by the wind turbines

Oh, and seeing as there aren’t any restaurants in Hopefield, Saturday evening saw us drive through to Langebaan and end up having supper at the institution that is Pearly’s. (Sadly, Mykonos was a little too deserted for our liking, and that cool looking German restaurant we spotted the last time that we stayed in Langebaan appears to no longer be in existence.)

So.

Although Hopefield itself has very little to offer someone looking for things to do, if you are looking for a tranquil getaway with little noise, clean air and lots of bird life, then this space might just be right for you.

Related Link: The Merry Widow Country Retreat | The Mill Country Fair

Paardevlei and Lourensford Markets (2015-08-29) Photo Gallery 09 SEP 2015

Two weekends ago, Jessica, Emily and I headed out bright and early to catch the opening weekend for two Somerset West markets, namely the brand new Paardevlei Farmers Market and the reopening (following the disastrous storm damage earlier in the year) of the enjoyable Lourensford Harvest Market.

IMG_20150829_101759 at paardevlei farmers market

Paardevlei is a massive 700 ha area of land that used to belong to explosives manufacturer AECI, and which has since been bought and rezoned by the City of Cape Town. The property is home to three heritage buildings designed by Sir Herbert Baker, and is currently a mixture of things, including high-end residential units, business units, a Cheetah Outreach programme, a brand new hospital, a brewery (Triggerfish), and a host of very rundown industrial-looking sites – and then there is of course the revitalized vlei itself.

Anyway, Paardevlei Farmers Market, run by Elsje Schoeman, is certainly brand new – and unfortunately it shows.

First problem – it’s quite tricky to find it, given Paardevlei’s size, and rundown, work-site nature (further in). Whilst I love the outdoor art installations that line the newer, developed roads, this didn’t help one bit in finding the actual market, meaning that in the end I gave up and followed everyone else, eventually arriving at the place we needed to be.

In other words, signage. They’re going to need a lot of it. (On that note, they should actually take a leaf out of the excellent Century City Natural Goods Market’s signage approach, who share a similar problem of being tricky to find! I remember this well, seeing as we used to trade there quite often back in the day…)

The market itself is housed inside what appears to be a disused factory building, meaning tights spaces, dark spots, and when there are lots of people milling about inside, a hint of claustrophobia. That said, the live music created a lively atmosphere and you certainly could’t fault the vibe one bit.

All the usual food-based and fresh produce type stalls were present and accounted for, and I’m sure over the next couple of weeks some more craft stalls will throw their lot in as well.

IMG_20150829_101810 at paardevlei farmers market

There isn’t much public seating available yet, and things do feel a little primitive at the moment (though perhaps that is part of the charm), but there is plenty of parking in what at the end of the day is quite an interesting area and not one that locals find themselves ever visiting.

However, the tight, noisy, busy spaces wasn’t ideal for me, my toddler or my four year old little girl, and so we didn’t hang around for very long at all!

IMG_20150829_112053 jessica lotter at the lourensford harvest market

Already a favourite of ours, Lourensford Harvest Market is a much more kid friendly market, and I’m happy to report, the structural changes made following the storm damage is definitely all on the positive side (though I am a little sad to lose the grass area).

The first big change is how you access the market – essentially they’ve now rerouted the parking to a field behind the market, where you can take either a convenient tractor ride or short stroll along the ground road, past the vineyards (in bloom!) to the new main entrance for the market (although it doesn’t look like the main entrance at all – signage, signage, signage!).

Lots of new seating options have been added, the grass area swapped out for a gravel covered one (allows for more tables to be put down), and of course, sturdier roof structures covering the main stall layout (which hasn’t changed at all in case you were wondering).

No fresh produce, but loads of food and craft stalls, and of course, the live music was an absolute treat. There is space, a giant jumping castle field for the kids, and a good vibe – meaning that this was a much better market for the girls and me!

IMG_20150829_120757 jessica lotter enjoying her tractor ride at the lourensford harvest market

We bought a new bedtime story book, ate pancakes (damn it Pure Pancakes, fix your recipe already so that my mouth doesn’t dry out and taste of baking powder at the end of each pancake devouring session), and indulged in some delicious chocolate fudge (which the girls couldn’t get enough of!)

Oh, and Jessica’s favourite part without a doubt was the tractor ride back up to the car at the end of a ‘lekker’ morning out with my girls! :)

Related Link: Paardevlei Farmers Market | Lourensford Harvest Market