There’s an exciting new market on the scene… At the end of January, the first Constantia Waldorf Night Market was held at the lovely grounds of Waldorf School in Constantia.  Ever curious, and loving the idea of an evening market, I went along to take a look , and I was really impressed.

It wasn’t quite as balmy as I’d hoped, and was in fact unusually blustery, especially for that leafy ‘hood, but the wind certainly did nothing to deter a very large market-going contingent.  I was there pretty early, only an hour or so after it had started, and already the cars were lined up in all directions, parking all the way down Strawberry Lane (off Spanschemat River Road), and probably jamming up all of Peddlars-On-The-Bend’s parking area as well.

I didn’t have trouble finding a spot not too far away, and there was also plenty of parking inside the grounds (R10).

I wasn’t able to stay for too long, as I had something else on that evening, but I did get to have a look around, and sample a few bits and pieces.  The food looked exceptional, and I was really happy to see a lot of wheat-free options.  In the end, I couldn’t resist having a seared tuna steak from AfroSushi (also at the Neighbour Goods Market), which was delicious!

[singlepic id=274 w=320 h=240 float=right]It was a nice mix of stalls, I thought.  Plenty of prepared and make-as-you-drool food stalls, some organic fresh produce (the same guys who sell at the Porter Estate Market), a number of craft and clothing stalls and then the entertainment areas.  The market revolves around what I gather is the school’s sports hall and spills out on to the grass.  The stalls inside the hall were mostly craft and handmade goods, such as clothing, jewellery, holistic products and the like, with some sort of stage set up on the one side.

There were places for small kids to play, both inside and outside (some awesome goo stuff I really wanted to play with myself!) and what looked like a basketball court where the teens were running about and skateboarding to their hearts’ content.

Two particularly interesting stalls I encountered were !ke Cape Fynbos Oils, and Retreat Farm.  I’m not usually soap-crazy, but the unadulterated scents of the !ke fynbos really appealed to me, as did Marina Laurova’s enthusiasm for the making of her products – more about !ke here.

The Retreat Farm stall had a beautiful and mouth-watering display of organic jellies and jams, cordials and shortbread – all made from ‘the finest seasonal ingredients in traditional recipes to delight your tastebuds and warm your heart’.  I didn’t get to take a photograph, but they were so well presented, in their little jars of ‘Organic Eugenia and Rose Jelly’ (R30), ‘Organic Grape Jelly’ (R30), Organic Apricot Jam (R30), Organic Ginger Cordial (R25) and ‘Organic Shortbread’ (R25).  I asked where the farm was, and it’s apparently tucked away in Retreat somewhere (the details I’ve forgotten), and they make only enough to sell to friends and at this market.  If you can’t wait until the next market, though, you can call Aisha or Abu Bakr on 084 215 0777.

One thing that didn’t work too well on the day was the coupon system (you buy coupons at a central spot, and use them at the stalls), because it wasn’t that well signposted, and just got a bit chaotic.  But, I chatted to the organisers after the event, and they have quite a few changes in mind for the February event:

  1. We will be reverting to a cash payment direct to stall holder system.
  2. The market will be spread over a larger area to prevent overcrowding.
  3. There will be specific areas for drinks, food, clothing, crafts etc to make sure each stall can be found.
  4. The sound system will be improved.
  5. A programme of events and an info desk will be available.
  6. We will be providing a significant improvement in the beverage department with a with a water bar, fresh juices, coffees, teas, chais etc. (In terms of our school constitution nobody is allowed to sell alcoholic drinks but if folk want to bring a bottle of wine or two and picnic on our lawns thay should feel free.)

I suspect that this might become quite the popular event, and I really look forward to the next one, coming up on the 26th of February 2010.  See you there!

Event details:

The Constantia Waldorf Night Market will be held between 5pm and 9pm on the last Friday of every month (excluding public holidays).  February’s market takes place on the 26th.  The venue is the Constantia Waldorf School, on Spaanschematriver Road (next to Peddlars).  For more info, contact John on 0826310421.

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