Plan your weekends around local country markets and stock up on fresh, homemade treats. These are our favourites in and around the Western Cape…
1. Bluebird Garage Food and Goods Market, Muizenberg
Bluebird, a colourful and bustling indoor market, housed in a historic seaplane hangar, is spruced up by fairy-light fixtures and a wide choice of food stalls offering fare from around the world. Your only problem might be deciding what to eat – or when to stop. Should it be artisan Italian pasta, Afro-sushi, potjiekos, Vietnamese rice-paper rolls, seafood paella, chilli poppers, pizza or tacos? A selection of craft beer from the Bicycle Bar slakes thirst and sweet doughnut-like churos dipped in sugar, and an array of cakes and Kaapse liqueurs (served in chocolate shooter-glasses) put the cherry on the top. Between the eats, select a bunch of king proteas, a packet of vegetables or a funky T-shirt.
- When: Fridays 16h00-22h00
- Where: 39 Albertyn Road
2. Peach Pip Market, Kommetjie
This friendly and popular family-owned fruit-and-veg store opens its backyard once a month for an enjoyable outdoor market (off-road parking is a bonus). It’s a festive event for everyone. While moms and dads wander around the clothing, plant and craft stalls or queue for scrumptious food (vegan included), the kids make their way to the jumping castle. A relaxed vibe is maintained by the band whose songs from yesteryear keep everyone in a mellow mood. Step indoors for Rodgers’ bargain packets of fruit and veg, a freshly squeezed juice, a pancake or sublime coffee.
- When: First Saturday of the month, 10h00-15h00
- Where: Rodgers Fruiterers, Kommetjie Road
3. Spier Werf Market, Stellenbosch
Recently launched, this weekly gathering features artisanal products and is held under the oaks at Spier’s historic farmyard. It’s a family-friendly farmers market where ethical producers sell seedlings and medicinal plants, there’s an heirloom seed exchange where you can swop seeds, while ‘treepreneurs’ have a stand where you can donate money in exchange for indigenous plants. There’s plenty for your food basket too – organic fruit and veg, grass-fed beef biltong, cheese, baked goods and farm eggs. If you’re in the mood for a picnic, simply pick up a picnic set at the info stand, buy nibbles from the traders, stop at the bar, then find a blanket in the shade and enjoy.
- When: Every last Saturday of the month, 09h00-14h00
- Where: Spier wine farm, Stellenbosch
4. Hermanus Country Market
They call themselves the ‘small market with a lot of soul’ and the stallholders are ocals whose wares include home-smoked fish, probiotic yoghurts, wheat-free bakes and muesli and fresh organic produce. There’s also a variety of arts and crafts, plants for sale, live music and a kiddies train pulled by a tractor. Must-tries are the melktert springrolls, pumpkin fritters and Kyle and Mart-Mari’s lamb shwarmas. Good to know is that there’s ample parking.
- When: Saturday mornings. Summer (1 October-31 March) – 08h00-12h00. Winter (1 April-30 September) – 09h00-13h00
- Where: Hermanus Cricket Club
- Contact: 072 883 3894, www.hermanuscountrymarket.co.za
5. Stanford Sunset Market
A celebration of local produce at sunset, this old-fashioned market takes place on the village square, which has heritage status. Take a basket and buy home-grown veggies, wholesome food and chocolates, and sample excellent wine. For the health-conscious there are gluten-free foods, honey and herbal products. Books, toys and dog tags can also be found (Stanford is famously dog friendly). Enjoy live music by Papa Jer and mingle with the locals until late.
- When: Every last Friday of the month from 18h00
- Where: Stanford Village Green
- Contact: 083 604 0808, www.stanfordinfo.co.za
6. Outeniqua Farmers’ Market
This 5ha site has more than 150 food and craft stalls offering farm-fresh fruit and veggies, international cuisine, sweet treats, gifts and decor. There’s lots of undercover seating and shade and the market is pet friendly – doggie water stations are set up everywhere. Kids have a massive play park to keep them entertained.
- When: Every Saturday, 08h00-14h00
- Where: At the George junction on the N2
- Contact: www.outeniquafarmersmarket.co.za
7. Harkerville Saturday Village Market
A rural market described by the organisers as ‘a typical English country market of 50 years ago’, its vibey atmosphere is boosted by Baldieman the DJ playing hits from yesteryear. Speciality stalls showcase gemstones, Aloe ferox and African potato products, while crafts include wonderful woodwork toys, ethnic clothing, découpage and ceramics. Enjoy breakfast at the market before filling your basket with honey, macadamia oil, koeksisters and home-made pies, and lots more.
- When: Every Saturday, 08h00-12h00
- Where: Harkerville, off the N2 between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.
- Contact: www.harkervillemarket.co.za
Set in beautiful gardens with shady trees, this market features organic vegetables, fruit and herbs, baked goods, herbal lotions and soaps, a wonderful charity shop for bargains, artwork and second-hand books. There are pony and tractor rides for the kids, an inviting swimming pool open to the public, and friendly locals to meet.
- When: First Sunday of the month, 10h00-14h00
- Where: N7, turn off onto Klein Dassenberg Road for 4.5km
9. Farmers Market at Steenbokfontein – Lambert’s Bay
Roosterkoek and pannekoek, coffee and local craft beer, West Coast oysters, doggie handbags, leatherwork. And this only starts to sum up this popular market that’s all about local is lekker. The festive vibe is boosted with the regular band, No Pressure.
- When: Every last Saturday of the month, 09h00-15h00
- Where: 9km south of Lambert’s Bay on the R365
10. Slow Market Stellenbosch – Stellenbosch
In a beautiful setting of vineyards and oak trees, the Slow Market showcases slow food – food that’s been grown, raised and harvested by local producers. There are more than 100 specialty suppliers including artisan bakers, organic merchants, fine foods, butchers (check out the gluten-free boerrie), craft beers, estate wines, crafts and local fashion designs. The lawns and shady trees invite you to have an impromptu picnic, feasting on your purchases, which may include cheeses, olives, artisan chocolate freshly picked strawberries and farm cream. In inclement weather, the whole market is covered in rainproof Bedouin tents, giving it an exotic and unusual vibe.
- When: Every Saturday 09h00-14h00
- Where: Oude Libertas Estate
11. Root44 Market – Stellenbosch
Audacia’s picturesque setting of vines and mountains lends itself to this festive weekend market held in cosy marquees, so weather is never an issue. ‘Crafty’ stalls include gorgeous hand-painted crockery, leather bags and delightful jewellery. There are also books, furniture and cosmetics. For foodies, gourmet food stalls abound (vegetarians catered for). Sip on aromatic coffees and fresh juices, stock up on spices, then relax with Audacia’s fine wines or other beverages at the Blue Moon Bar. Add some live music and it’s a perfect day out.
- When: Every Saturday and Sunday, 10h00-16h00
- Where: Audacia wine estate on the R44
12. Hermanuspietersfontein Food & Wine Market – Hemel-en-Aarde Village
This family-friendly market is all about food and wine. Feast your eyes on the gorgeous cakes and artisan breads, try the beef biltong, probably the best you’ll ever have, and the melt-in-your-mouth fudge. Some unusual items are perlemoen and bobotie springrolls, divine washed down with a glass of Hermanuspietersfontein Bloos or Posmeester. The atmosphere is always vibey. There’s a small play area for kids and sometimes there’s live music. Their website sums it up perfectly: Real plates and real cutlery. Real cups and real glasses. Real hangout for real people.
- When: Saturdays, 09h00-13h00
- Where: Corner of R43 and R320
13. The Mill Country Fair Hopefield
Very early every Saturday morning, locals pick their farm-fresh veggies and take them to this market to sell. Also on offer are artisan breads, pies, to-die-for pancakes, pastas, preserves, pâtés, olives, sundried tomatoes, and smoked free-range chicken. For your lunch break why not enjoy the home-cooked, hot meal of the day with tea, coffee or hot chocolate? Then browse for vintage items, books or unique arts and crafts, and support the young entrepreneurs (under 13) showcasing their products. The market is a no plastic-bag zone, so bring your own shopping baskets.
- When: Every Saturday, 10h00-14h00
- Where: 29 Kerk Street, (R45 between Vredenburg and Malmesbury)
The words “green shed” will mean more or less the same thing everywhere in the world. Except in Worcester. Here locals know it means a morning to remember that comes around every four weeks or so. On the first Saturday of every month except January, the green shed in Brandwacht (a beautiful mountain-lined nook just outside of town) becomes a hive of enjoyment. The Pure Boland Market brings together about 45 producers and entrepreneurs who sell their creations to those who love local and the delightful blend of humble hospitality and pro-level product. Whether you come at nine or noon, there’ll be a ready-meal to satisfy your hunger. Savoury or sweet? The snacks are abundant. The one thing they all have in common? Home-made heartiness of course. Whether it’s thirst or just a craving, quench it with anything from barista-brewed coffee and prize-winning craft beer to specialised drinks and cocktails made from exotic ingredients. Lazy browsing is interrupted only by quick chats to acquaintances passing by. It is topped off with a sit-down refreshment enjoyed slowly in the company of friends – inside or out in the sun. Liven up your cooking with top quality fresh produce, meat and cheese. Treat your dinner guests to a great new herb or sauce. Treat yourself to a new set of earrings or a bag, your home to fresh flowers or a new décor piece and your kids to a hand-crafted toy. Feed your mind with a book or your soul with a painting. You’re literally spoilt for choice.
- When: Every first Saturday of the month (except January), 09:00 to 14:00
- Where: Groenstoor, Brandwacht, Worcester, South Africa