The first time the words ‘locavore’ and ‘food miles’ entered my vocabulary was after reading Barbara Kingsolver‘s brilliant memoir, ‘Animal, vegetable, miracle’ on eating seasonally. I started thinking seriously about food security. These days it seems everyone is planting up their kitchen garden. The current site of the Oranjezicht City Farm used to supply the Cape Colony with fruit and vegetables. At the end of 2012 part of the original farm, which had been a disused bowling green, was returned to its original use.
I had been meaning to visit this neighbourhood goods market for a while. Friends were posting photos of their newly planted-up lettuce boxes, ‘Inspired by my visit to the Oranjezicht farm market’. I had ‘liked’ and befriended the OZCF, but we were yet to meet. The weather for our first date was gorgeous. Spring has come early to Cape Town and nothing says Spring more than the fresh bright green asparagus which peeked enticingly out from their Facebook photo soil.
Parking didn’t seem to be a problem, but then we came early. The OZCF is much smaller than I had imagined. The market fits under a large tent. Because of the unique setting there is plenty of space to sit and enjoy the culinary delights either near the playground or in the vegetable garden with its comfortable wooden benches and gorgeous views.
The market operates on a cash basis and is open on Saturdays from 9 -2. We headed for the coffee stand and bought some butter kuchen and a delicious steamed vegetarian bun filled with shiitake mushrooms. Wild Geranium cordial followed as well as a generous stick of organic kudu droewors. Even the dog was catered for with Mr Biggles’ dog biscuits!
A brisk trade was happening at the veggie stall– so brisk in fact that according to Sheryl Ozinsky the visionary founder, she had been able to sell the freshly harvested asparagus at R100 a bunch! She encouraged me to go and see where they were planted. A friendly South American volunteer showed me where they grew, before setting off to harvest fresh kale for the market. Everyone volunteers and has day jobs and the market itself takes 3 days to set up. There are currently no plans to host the market more often.
The atmosphere is relaxed, happy and family friendly. Nestling in the city bowl hovering between the mountain and the sea, the Oranjezicht City Farm is urban agriculture at its best. This is a taste of country living in the City Bowl. I even discovered a sprig of parsley in the freshly cleaned toilet bowl!
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