Well, let’s see if you measure up…Do you buy yourself recipe books instead of having them foisted on you by your mom? Have you hoarded family recipes going back generations? Is DSTV channel 175 your default setting? Do you have Food Network shows on catch up? Does stirring pots, chopping chives and whisking sauces fill you with delight? And most of all, do you like to eat good food? That’s it then: you are in all likelihood a food fundi.
Welcome to the club!
And as honorary members of our food fundi community, we are going to let you in on our top picks for food producers you have to visit in the Midlands. Read on as we reveal all.
The drive to support local producers has gained steady momentum over the years. We like to know that when we’re doling out our hard earned cash, we’re supporting local economies, we know who we are buying from and our food has a trail of traceability. We also like to know that we are buying healthier products. Healthier for ourselves and healthier for the environment. The fact that the product is tastier too is, of course, a major selling point!
We’re not talking about artificial, chemically saturated goods pumped out en masse from massive machine run factories. These producers are the real deal. They source and/or produce locally. They’re often family-run affairs. And since we think what they are doing is pretty darn nifty, we believe it only fair to share the best bits with you.
If you haven’t visited this market, where have you been? It’s a must visit for every foodie, so add it to the list. The market is a warren of bustling stalls selling local produce from fresh fruit and veg to homemade pies, and all sorts of other local goodies. So pop on over to La Petite France Farm on Saturdays from 7 to 11am. Grab yourself a freshly brewed coffee and have a wander around and enjoy the artisanal awesomeness of the Midlands food producers!
A family run affair with a lovely range of handcrafted, locally sourced products. Now that’s the quintessential local producer that we are looking for! Hailing from Greece, the owners and their extended family, now lovingly oversee this flourishing enterprise which, according to their daughter Filia, aims to “[create] something unique and special for all customers”. Well, we think they’re doing a fabulous job. We love their Blue Cow Deli which serves fresh and home-grown produce made from their own vegetable garden. Try out their cheeses - made with full cream milk sourced from local dairies. And their double cream yoghurt is, as Filia explains “true Greek Yoghurt, seeing that we make it in the True Greek method”. These guys get a double thumbs up, so head on around to the Gourmet Greek and fill your goodie bag!
If you have a thing for olives, then we have something you are going to want to check out. Romesco are the people in the know when it comes to all things olives. According to olive expert, Charmaine, their current line includes: “12 different varieties of marinated olives, seven types of stuffed olives, six pestos, three tapenades, three chutneys, three pickles, two harissa’s, as well as a magical dipping sauce – so there is something for everyone”. Using olives sourced from their single dedicated farmer in the Western Cape, they produce and bottle a small batch of artisanal olive products right here in the Midlands. Go and visit them, you won’t be disappointed!
If you're looking for ethical practices and traceability when you buy your meat products, then going local is definitely the way forward. Dargle Valley Pork (another excellent family-run affair) not only offers a super range of pork products - and we’re talking delicious bacon, sizzling sausages, best Sunday roasts, Christmas orders and more - but also prides itself on operating ethically and responsibly. Have a look at their website to find out how they look after their livestock, the farming practice they adhere to and the overriding desire to give quality products to their customers. They farm the old fashion way - hormone free, hand made (check out their smoked bacon!) and focussed on good quality. Oh, and they deliver. What more could you ask for?
This product is sweet! Literally. And we’d love to give a shout out to the people at Pye’s honey for their ethical approach to harvesting the golden goodness of honey. Started by the patriarch, Fredrick Pye in 1948, Pye’s honey is now run by the third generation of Pyes and is going strong. Their honey is pure and comes directly from their hives - “nothing added or taken out”. Although they do not have a physical shop, you’ll find their honey on the shelves in the local stores, and you can support their efforts by buying their products. So, pop a Pye’s in your shopping cart and keep those bees busy.
Here’s a smorgasbord of cheesy delights for you. Indezi River Creamery is another family run business that handcrafts artisanal dairy products that have been locally sourced and produced in the Midlands. You must pop around to their Diary Shoppe to check out their cow and goat milk product range - this includes cheeses, butter, yoghurt and various cow milk alternatives. They also offer free-range chickens, real ice cream and other lekker local fare. And while you’re there, try out their Milkshake Bar which serves a range of shakes made from your choice of cow or goat milk.
If, among the green rolling hills, you spot some free roaming goats leaping about on a climbing platform like something out of Johanna Spyri’s novel, Heidi, then you’re probably at Swissland cheese. And it’s not just ‘goatly’ antics that are on offer. Rich and healthy goats cheese is the mainstay of this local producer, whose artisanal cheese comes free of antibiotics and colourants, but includes plenty of flavours. While you are there stocking up on the award-winning cheeses, don’t forget to grab yourself a cheesy picnic pack from the Swissland farm shop and then loll about in their garden and watch the goats do their thing. And if you happen to pitch up on the first Sunday of the month, you’ll be treated to a live music festival. Living the dream!
Sifted and roasted on a farm in the Midlands, this coffee comes fresh from a local producer Terbadore. A family affair that began in 2004, this local coffee roaster is a must visit for those of you who are coffee connoisseurs. The finest green coffee beans are sifted and roasted locally in true artisanal spirit. Head on over to their Terbadore Restaurant to enjoy their local brew, and you can buy other branded merch at their retail shop. We think it’s only right to raise a cup in salute to the coffee culture’s local heroes.
Now that you are in the know, it's time to load your cooler box in the car, stow your eco-friendly shopping bags and head up to the Midlands. There’s a world of good food and great people waiting along the Meander.