I love this time of year… As it starts getting just that little bit warmer, the outdoor festivals begin to pop up on the radar and very soon all weekends are jam-packed with activities.

The highlight of the weekend, for me, is the Natural & Organic Products Exhibition, on at the CTICC. Not because I particularly enjoy being indoors (especially in the CTICC) when it’s sunny out, but because there are so many natural and organic products available in one space – and plenty of passionate people to meet.

This weekend also sees the debut of three brand new markets – the Fresh Etc Market in Kalk Bay, and the Elgin Valley Farmers’ Market, at the Peregrine Farmstall on the N2 and the Alphen Craft Market, on Alphen Common (near Constantia Village) . And, I’m hearing whispers of a few other new markets, too, which I’ll write about soon.

And, these are just the highlights – for a full list of upcoming events, check out the Mother City events calendar!

Natural and Organic Products Exhibition 2008.

CTICC. 17 Oct: 10am – 6pm; 18 Oct: 10am – 7pm; 19 Oct: 10am -6pm

All things natural and organic under one roof! I just missed it last year, being overseas on a gallavant, but I’ll be there in full force this time around. There’ll be everything from organic fresh produce to discussions about how to ditch plastic… and I’m betting the food on offer will be pretty good. Tickets (sold at entrance): adult – R50.

Fresh Etc Market

Kalk Bay Community Centre, Main Road, Kalk Bay. Sunday 19 October – 10am to 3pm.

This new “mini-food, organic and fresh goods market” has connections with the colourful Holistic Lifestyle Fair in Obs (I gather it’s run by the same people), and barring possible parking issues, looks like a fabulous way to spend a Sunday afternoon…

According to organisers there’ll be “lots of place for visitors to hang out on the centre’s balcony while they savour their food and look out for whales in the surf a few 100 metres away, or for them to chill in the small back garden!”

Elgin Valley Farmers’ Market

Peregrine Farmstall. Saturday 18 October. 9am to 2pm.

I love country markets – you get the freshest produce because it literally comes from just around the corner. This is the first of what will become a regular weekly market offering hungry folk “shelves and shelves of fresh, wholesome, fruit, vegetables, cheese, bread, olives, olive oil, wines, everything culinary that is healthy, wholesome and organic, sourced from the Elgin Valley”.

The market square will include a variety of food stalls and seating where people can relax and enjoy the local fare.

Robertson Wine on the River Festival

Goudmyn Farm, between Robertson and Bonnievale. 17-19 October. Fri: 11am-8pm; Sat: 10am-6pm; Sun: 11am-4pm.

This one sounds just about chilled out enough for someone like me… Taking place on the banks of the Breede River, the Robertson Wine on the River gives festival-goers a chance to taste the best wine the area has to offer and meet the local winemakers.

“Listen to live music, browse through the arts & crafts lane, enjoy lunch in this beautiful setting or sample any of our local produce on show. Wine sold on site @ cellar price and there is plenty for the kids to do.”

Alphen Craft Market

Saturday 18th. Alphen Common, across from Constantia Village. 9am to 2pm.

A new craft market to be held every third Saturday of the month on the Alphen Common. All crafts must be made by hand, so happily it’s unlikely there’ll be any of the gaudy cheap plastic imports one sometimes sees. Certainly worth a looksee.

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