I love the Porter Estate Produce Market in Tokai. It’s perhaps not as big as the Stellenbosch Fresh Goods Market, but it’s a whole lot closer and there’s more than enough variety to keep me entertained (and stocked up).
I also find it far less stressful than the Neighbour Goods Market out in Woodstock (plenty of parking, for a start, more room to move about, and a much friendlier atmosphere, in my opinion).
Almost every Saturday morning, I grab my trusty basket and take the short drive down to the Chrysalis Academy, where the market is held, and every time I come back with an assortment of goodies to tide me through another hopefully supermarket-free week.
This weekend I was sensible, for a change, and had breakfast with a friend before I wandered the stalls – it made for far less drooling, and led me to a few stalls I hadn’t spent much time at before (something to do with not needing instant gratification, I suppose).
Breakfast consisted of a ‘Farmhouse Brekkie’ – a fair-sized portion of scrambled eggs and bacon on a roll for R25 (they’ll serve it up on rye instead if, like me, you provide them with your own bread).
Several other options were available for the same price: bratwurst + onions, veal sausage + onions, pure beef burger, salmon + scrambled egg and the vegetarian option of scrambled egg, tomato + spinach.
It was pretty good, and certainly filled the gap (plus, I’m happy to report, both the cutlery and the plate on which it was served are completely compostable, so we could bin them feeling most virtuous indeed).
We washed it all down with ‘Moer Koffie’ (R7), served in authentic chipped enamel cups at another nearby stall (with a choice of hot milk, cold milk, or – wait for it – condensed milk!) and then wandered into the market proper.
First port of call (naturally) was to stock up on my stash of Ellen’s splendiferous chocolates (R5 each – I am so not telling you how many I bought this time!), then to Knead Bakery’s stall to grab a loaf of their scrumptious 100% rye bread (R20) and then to the organic veggie section to fill my basket with whatever fresh produce took my fancy (the sweet potatoes at the moment are pink inside, and ever so delicious!).
Then, my primary needs sorted, I thought I’d check out something new (new to me, but not new to the market): hand-crafted balsamic vinegars from Protea Hill Farm in Stellenbosch.
To be honest, what first got my attention at first was not the vinegars, but the many trays of fresh raspberries laid out on the table… they made my mouth water (this is an entirely different reaction from drooling, I’ll have you know!).
It turns out that Protea Hill Farm grows all its fruit naturally – no insecticides or pesticides are used on the plants or the fruits. And, even better, “no colourants, preservatives, flavour enhancers or any chemical substances are used for the vinegars and syrups”. As if that wasn’t enough, the fruits are apparently sun ripened, and harvested in a 100% ripe condition (equals high sugar content, and sweet flavour).
You can taste it.
They’ve won a number of awards for their lovely vinegars, and it’s not hard to figure out why. I was hard put to choose only one (budget, budget, damned budget!).
In the end, though, it was the ‘Balsamic Tarragon’ that got my vote, though the ‘Balsamic Mint’ was just as tempting (my friend bought that one).
Wonderful, full, juicy flavours, and the fact that it’s all natural and is grown and produced locally made it a must-have.
Another successful day at market, and still so many more stalls to explore. Who needs impersonal mass-producing supermarkets when you can find so many wonderful things in the beauty of the great outdoors!
The Porter Estate Produce Market is open every Saturday morning between 9am and 1pm (weather-permitting). Directions are provided here. There’s a R5 entrance fee (per car) that is donated to the students of Chrysalis Academy who assist with parking. My advice: go early – the market is very popular and the good stuff goes quickest.
Gargantuan Olives, Fragrant Eucalyptus Oils And Wheat-Free Munchies: A Visit To The Stellenbosch Fresh Goods Market
Following Pink Pigs To Things Organic: A Visit To The Porter Estate Produce Market
A New Addiction: Ellen’s Chocolate Truffles – The ‘Food Of The Gods’
A Visit To The Neighbourhood Goods Market in Woodstock
Cape Town’s Neighbour Goods Market Set To Expand In March