Why settle for fast food while on the road when you can feed your soul as well as your tummy? Break your journey at one of these farm stalls.
As a community of holidaymakers who cover hundreds of kilometres of tar as a matter of course, campers know that a good road journey sets the tone for a holiday. We might not have control over potholes, the volume of traffic, long waits at the stop/go lollipops crisscrossing the countryside or how often the little people in our vehicles need a loo, but we can at least choose where to break the trip. And while the Wimpys and Shell Ultra Cities of the world have been a blessing to all of us for a middle-of- the-night coffee or a desperate ablution dash, there is a far more fascinating, relaxing and fun way to have a pit stop: farm stalls.
Farm stalls have an aura about them, a rustic charm, and they are a magnet to magpie-type shoppers who love the whole sensory experience: the scent of hay bales and wicker baskets of fruit, the sight of farm-fresh eggs and row upon row of cheerful, gingham-clad preserves. Children are drawn to the down-to-earth fun of farm stalls, and any shopper worth their salt will appreciate the chance to find unusual, handmade products. Farm stalls come wrapped up with a good serving of whimsy and nostalgia for a quieter, slower pace of life.
So, when tummies are rumbling in your car, why not pass on the fast food for once and get a home-cooked meal instead? Depending on which of these places you visit, you can stock up on organic, seasonal veg and local wines, pick your free-range meat for the braai (not forgetting the biltong), sip on a cappuccino and let your kids have a pony ride – all at the same time!
To get you started on your journey of farm stall discovery, here are ten of the best (plus a few extras) scattered around South Africa.
Peregrine Farm Stall
Where you’ll find it: on the N2 near Grabouw
Tel: 021 848 9011
GPS: S34°09.838’ E19°02.100’
It’s a heady scene inside this building: trays laden with fresh fruit and veg, bread, dried fruit, sweet treats, homemade biltong, rusks and preserves. Don’t miss the chance to stock up on wine from the
Elgin valley or hand-pressed apple juice, and do take a turn past the deli counter – no doubt your nose will lead you there anyway! – with its delicious quiches, tarts, pies and other delectables. There’s also the cheerful Red Tractor Cafe, with its locally sourced, seasonal dishes and excellent coffee (the kitchen closes at 17:00), and a plant nursery in the same complex. The farm stall is open from 07:30 to 18:30. This patch of N2 is well served with farm stalls: there’s also Houw Hoek Farm Stall (Elgin) and Dassiesfontein (between Caledon and Bot River). Houw Hoek has a sweet restaurant and an appealing bakery, while Dassiesfontein has an intriguing assortment of wine, kitchen implements, vintage clothing, wood stoves, leather handbags and other collectables to add to the traditional farm stall fare and restaurant. But Peregrine’s a personal favourite…