On Saturday 17th October, I headed down to the V&A Waterfront to explore the Oranjezicht City Farm Market, which, since June, has been held just behind The Lookout (near the V&A, Granger Bay) each Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 14:00 p.m., come rain or sunshine.
Ever since reading about the Oranjezicht City Farm earlier this year, I’ve been extremely keen to visit the OZCF Market Day. As a ‘country girl’ and someone who loves attending markets, I was especially drawn by the prospect of an organic, health-food market virtually in the heart of the city, which is undoubtedly a huge blessing to Capetonians and in particular, to we ‘CBD dwellers’.
The best part about the OZCF Market Day? Entrance is free, the prices are certainly reasonable (even for someone like myself, who exists on a perpetually tight student budget), the venue is superb, MyCiti Bus services (take the 104 or T01 routes) and V&A-owned parking (R10 per full day) help provide easy access to the market and the goods on offer are all of a noticeably high standard, prepared, harvested and finally, marketed with evident love and passion and the atmosphere is a wonderfully relaxed, peaceful and fun one.
Before I elaborate any further, however, it’s time to give some background history on OZCF…
First of all, OZCF Market is a sustainable community, farmer-style market that caters “for independent local farmers and artisanal food producers.” What’s more, the beautiful, organic Oranjezicht City Farm is financed through OZCF Market Day funds and the market not only provides Capetonians with fresh, healthy food (in many instances, food is vegetarian- and vegan-friendly and foods are wheat-, gluten-, sugar- and dairy-free), creates awareness for organic farming and food but it also provides community upliftment and togetherness, supports local entrepreneurs and strongly assists in job creation.
According to their excellent website, www.ozcf.co.za, the market’s focus is on: “…local, fresh, seasonal, healthy vegetables, fruit, herbs and other primary food items (honey, olive oil, eggs, bread, meats, etc.), as well as seeds, seedlings, plants, fertilisers, and other nursery-related items, with a small amount of hand-made food and drink on offer. The market does not trade in lifestyle, fashion, health, beauty, craft or other items.”
So, although I had a rough idea of what goodies and raw foods to expect, I was nevertheless surprised by the plethora of both raw and cooked food options available to shoppers.
The market was originally meant to return to its former, six-month-long location (‘Zille Villa’, Premier Helen Zille’s official Leeuwenhof residence) in October but, as announced over the loudspeaker on the day, OZCF Market Day will continue to be held at its newer Granger Bay location for the next six months due to the additional parking available and more customer-friendliness of this beautiful venue.
The venue is indeed the perfect location, for, as you approach from the Lookout (which was pretty busy that day, as it was the ‘registration point’ for the first South African launch of globally popular Swedish fashion clothing line, H&M), you have the beautiful, mostly glass Lookout venue to your right and the expansive parking lot to your left, with the first of three loosely linked marquees coming into vision and the spectacular Cape Town Stadium looming just behind.
Also, on your right, there is shrubbery, palm trees and gorgeous, vibrant flowering wildflowers, which frame the distant, pristine ocean, with the occasional sail boat bobbing on the horizon. If the weather is as fair as it was that Saturday (hot enough to burn but still bearable, especially with the faint, salty ocean breeze blowing onshore), you are in for a proper treat. Nearby, with OZCF signage guiding you, there are toilet facilities.
Walk about five or so metres further and you will come across the market’s trio of light aqua-green-and-white banners, spread across the fencing, which welcome you to the Market (the main banner provides contact details), my favourite of which was the “Give peas a chance” one. I also loved the straw bales both there and inside the market – they really give a nice country feel. 🙂
In truth, the market, which is fenced off, is full of cute, clever and playful signs spread throughout and even featuring prominently on many of the stalls…
Clearly, both market organisers and stall owners give a lot of added thought to the marketing aspect. The result? Catchy, endearing and thought-provoking signs that work! (I can still remember the names/phrases I saw on most of the signs several days later without even looking at my photos! 🙂 )
As you approach the gate, where a security guard patiently waits, the first of the stalls begin, as do the signs. The first lady’s stall really caught my eye, with its attractive wooden spoons and woven mats, baskets and sun hats.
As soon as you step inside the cool, yet pleasantly airy confines of the first marquee (do keep an eye out for the colourful protea flowers and plants available for purchase at the entrance; they can deliver and plant for you), the relaxed, yet buzzing atmosphere really hits you and personally, for me, this was the first market I have ever attended that felt like a typically British country market… though with the classic S.A. twist! I imagined myself transported to some quiet, little place overseas until I stepped back out into the hot sunshine and encountered the gorgeous ocean and mountain views again.
One thing I really loved about the market were the communal tables and varied stalls (on how to become a trader, please see: www.ozcf.co.za for more info.) found throughout the interior, with the different coloured table cloths, interesting showpieces and signage.
There was so much to take in, not least of all the plants and cheerful decorations that hang from the top of the canopies and, although I was busily snapping photos, I kept pausing to admire the different offerings or to read the provided info.
I also loved the outdoor area, which offers additional tables and seating, especially for large groups, and even has ‘Suggestions’ and ‘This Market Inspires Me To…’ boards for you to leave comments or suggestions on – it’s a nice touch from the organisers and again, shows their evident care. (There’s also free Wi-Fi provided by Vanilla Internet Services.)
Some of the local cooked and/or baked delicacies on offer that I saw (and in some cases, sampled) include: free-range eggs and meat, insecticide-free lemons, sun-ripened, TKNP preservative-free raisins, jams, jellies and preserves (all of which were attractively bottled or packaged, as are virtually all the non-perishable goods on offer), sceletium and other natural teas, prickly pears/cactus pears, dried fruit and nuts, pork crackling, all kinds of breads, cheeses, cakes, truffles, brownies, cupcakes, tarts, mini-desserts, macaroons (many of the baked goods are famously sugar-, wheat- or gluten-free and some cater for Banting dieters), samoosas, pies, almond milk and fresh, squeezed juices, spreads and homemade hummus, Karoo olive oil, cream and dairy products, pitas, ‘bun-less’ burgers, wraps, stirfries, baked meals, quiches, salad options, rooibos expressos and cappuccinos, different croissants and Danish pasteries, bobotie, breakfast rolls, French toast, fritters, Thai fish cakes and Vietnamese rolls to list some of the endless array of food and drink options available.
I asked Sheryl Ozinsky – one of Oranjezicht City Farm’s founding members and an excellent and efficient go-to contact person – if the market caters for the Muslim community in terms of Halaal* cuisine and this was her response: “We have Halaal Samoosas and mince pies at the market currently. Some of our healthy cake offerings are also Halaal. We used to have halal curries and bobotie – but it doesn’t do so well in the heat and this trader is not with us any longer.”
*(Halal – otherwise spelt Halaal – is an Arabic word that, in terms of food, means “food that is permissible according to Islamic law”. “For a meat to be certified “halal”, it cannot be a forbidden cut (such as meat from hindquarters) or animal (such as pork).” Furthermore, according to www.bbc.com it is food which: “adheres to Islamic law, as defined in the Koran,” and is thus permissible for Muslims to enjoy.)
In general, the prices vary but overall, the cheapest thing I saw was fudge for R10, whilst meals can generally cost anything between R20-R55. Drinks cost between R15-R30, depending on what you opt for. Though there are certainly some great deals to be found, like the coffee and almond croissant special for R30.
A few of the more ‘foreign’ or exotic cuisine options that caught my eye were:
‘Lucy’s Pop Up English Cream Tea Dairy Menu’ – Although her products do not have ‘Oranjezicht Certification’, she assures customers that the cows are “fed nothing but grass and are Happy, Hormone and Pesticide Free.”
‘Cyprus Traditional Foods & Drink’ – Includes a variety of borek options and grilled kofte.
‘Coconut Maji’ – Offers: young coconut water, with excellent natural health- and remedial properties.
‘Sexy Foods’ – Offers: German krauts and Korean Kimchi jam, among other tasty delicacies and drinks.
La Rozell – authentic French crêpes.
And finally, Sababa – Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine.
Perhaps the market’s best feature, however, are the fresh, raw fruit and vegetables one can purchase there. It’s a grocery shopping experience like no other and transforms what can often be a menial or tiresome schlep into a fun and rewarding experience – especially when you know that you are helping to promote a green, sustainable and healthy initiative in which everyone – including you and your family – living in and around the Mother City can benefit from.
I loved admiring the bright orange carrots, the emerald spinach, cute button mushrooms, bright green beans and cos lettuce leaves, lovely yellow lemons, artichokes (these were particularly great to photograph) and something I have never seen before but have wanted to for some time: decorative- and scrunchy-looking kale!
There is an abundance of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and so much more at your disposal in this interesting shopping process! I really loved the African-esque and copper bowls and wooden baskets that the produce lies in and the tables are also beautifully decorated with cheery tablecloths and blooming flower vases.
(Last year, OZCF Market Day won the ‘2014 Eat Out Zonnebloem Produce Awards’ – something well-deserved!)
Here’s how to shop at an OZCF fresh produce table as written on the blackboard:
1. Select a shopping basket
2. Choose your produce
3. Ask a volunteer to weigh the goods that need weighing and to determine your basket value (Note: There are charming, old-fashioned scales provided.)
4. Transfer produce to your own basket
5. Proceed to ‘check-out’ with volunteer
(Note: Though the Market is both child- (there are a host of activities to keep kiddies entertained, including: “storytelling, planting, craft and yoga”) and dog-friendly, there is a list of requirements for dog owners to follow – including keeping your dog(s) on a short leash, ensuring they do not touch produce, foods or plants, are kept under control, are friendly to children and other visitors and lastly, that you clean up after them using the provided clean-up bags.)
Everywhere I looked, I saw people happily chatting, eating, shopping or simply browsing and it was very busy during the pre-lunchtime hour I was there for and everyone seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves, just as I was.
Some of the comments overheard include: “I come here to stock up on healthy everything and I connect with all my friends. It’s great, it brings us together in such an easy way,” and, in reference to rainbow kale and plantain: “Believe it or not, there’s food here that I’ve never seen before.”
(According to www.insideguide.co.za, OZCF Market Day for 2015 will run until December 27th.)
Overall, the OZCF Market Day gets a well-deserved 10/10> rating (I honestly cannot fault anything about it) and I will definitely continue to spread the word about this wonderful market, which I cannot wait to attend again! 🙂 It really was such a treat for me, as it was not only close by but offered a break from the hustle and bustle of inner city life too.
For more information on the OZCF Market Day and Oranjezicht City Farm, please see: www.ozcf.co.za, email them: firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively, contact Sheryl on: (083) 628 3426.
You can also find and follow them on www.facebook.com/OZCFarm (Also, remember to use the following social media hashtag: #OZCFarm)