My expectation of a Farm Stall is quite high. And when I hear the word Padstal / Farm Stall a scene of me stepping into a farmhouse pantry with freshly baked pastries and breads, preserves and produce, ginger beer and home-brews fills my mind’s eye. I expect the smells and sounds of food not produced en masse, but an intimate awakening of local rural life.
This post has been two weeks in the making. In Blogosphere time that’s long…
Now, anybody who has been on a road trip with kids, knows that once you round the first bend, the question will always arise: “When will we have this-and-that snack?”. I suppose I’m discovering Mpumalanga through the eyes of my child and also trying to do so with the wonder, hope and excitement that only a child experience in the smallest of things.
Building the sandwich
Whilst typing this I realized that even the nature of the post was like a “padkos” (roughly translated as road food) snack.
I’ll use the most widely known there is, the sandwich, as analogy when the Papierazzi members set out to quell our curiosity about the N4 to Kruger Park Farm Stalls.
Keeping this a truly #Mzansi Mix I decided to include Farm Stalls, Padstalletjies and roadside Curios shops under the microscope.
The Bottom Slice – 21 September 2014
Urna Stevenson has created a relaxed atmosphere and artfully displays decor, local preserves, products, orchids and other plants. Soft music fills the air intermixed with birdsong and a bubbling brook.
Her mother-in-law, Louise Stevenson (whom originally started the stall), supplies the plants and the beauty and variety of orchids warrants a visit on its own.
Their right-hand man (I’m not sure if he is right-handed, but he has a very green fingered right hand) Hezekiel was available to answer questions and assist with any nursery needs.
There have been a lot of expansions happening with this little stall and Urna has big plans for the future, mentioning a tea garden and play area for kids.
The Filling – 27 September 2014
What started out as two friends making our way to a homemade ice cream taste treat, soon morphed into a stall crawl.
Our Challenge: To see if we can survive the trip with only the snacks purchased roadside, as tourists would do. (We packed some back-up snacks just in case, though)
For the Papierazzi members this can be a dietary challenge as Sprite is gluten, wheat and dairy intolerant. About 30 minutes into the drive (roughly 35 km from White River) we spotted our first Stall when a giant banana appeared in the sky.
Nabana Lodge Stall
At first glance it did not seem to have more than fruit on offer as rows of local produce flanked the entrance. But once inside a display of preserves and avocado oils beckoned a closer look. A part of the stall serves as a general dealer for the locals but this is not the main focus.
Millicent (Milly for short) Masuku mans the stall. She only recently joined the team, but I can remember driving past this Farm Stall with its Sky Banana as a kid, so it’s a landmark on the stall map.
Milly helped us stock up on lovely oranges, avo’s and bananas. The fruit was fresh and did not remind me of the plastic play set Sprite used to play with. These are still your grow-in-the-ground and pick-when-ripe fruit.
De Rust Curios Stall
Here Nivea Mavimbela offers a traveler some cool shade and a warm smile. She spends her time sourcing wares from local and foreign artisans to stock her stall.
But this is not all there is, Nivea crochets colorful mats and makes traditional drums herself and even has a selection of plants, fruits and nuts to choose from.
Turning off onto the R536 we skipped past our destination for the day, Summerfields Rose Retreat & Spa, to make a quick turn at Pat’s Stall. This roadside stall serves as a gallery for Pat’s artwork and has the widest variety of snacks on offer with peach rolls and caramelized popcorn, to name but a few.
Fresh fruit are available at the front of the shop where there is also an educational display of nature conservation in the area
The Top Slice – 28 September 2014
On a misty and rainy Sunday the three members of Papierazzi set off on our final Stall adventure and arrived at Joubert & Sons Citrus about 30 minutes after departing from Mbombela. This rest stop pays honor to the excellent citrus grown in the area. With a wide selection of citrus varieties on sale, there are oranges available throughout the year. And while you decide which to have, why not try some of the freshly squeezed orange juice at R5-00 a 500ml bottle. It’s a real steal.
I could not pass the orange jam (lemoen konfyt) for sale at the counter, which I’ve been informed is not a marmalade but a “soetkonfyt” (translated as sweet jam). A whisper among the citrus trees have it that there are big things in store for 2015. Make sure to plan a return trip next year.
At each of these stalls there is captured a piece of the yester-year magic.
Words like natural, homemade and handmade come to mind, in a world in
lust love with plastic, profitability and instant pleasure, be sure to give these stalls preference to their commercial cousins when taking your next road trip to the Kruger Park.