Do you ever think about where products come from as you purchase them? Who toiled out in the fields to bring you those fresh vegetables and what went into that jar to give the jam that taste and texture? At the Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market, this is one of the gaps they hope to fill.
The market, which lies on the Western edge of Sedgefield on the Garden Route, is far more than an in vogue gathering point for food enthusiasts. Based on the markets of bygone eras, Wild Oats aims to bring together town and country, once again connecting consumers with their food – reminding them where it comes from and how.
Weaving one’s way between the permanent wooden display structures, bouncing from one stall to the next reveals a variety of fresh produce ranging from fresh seasonal vegetables still dusted with earth to cheeses and dairy as well as baked and bottled goodies prepared for the occasion. All of it is as local as possible, coming straight from the Garden Route itself.
The market is open on Saturday mornings from 7.30 until 11.30 in summer and 8.00 until 11.30 in winter. As a real, salt of the earth farmers’ market, producers are there in all weather conditions, as should you be and if the early start is a shock to the system, be assured that breakfast is served and the community spirit, rustic surroundings and neighbouring Swartvlei Lagoon make it a lovely setting in which to start your day! You can also take home a beautiful reminder of the Southern Cape Floral Kingdom, flowers bred and sold by experts at Wild Oats.
While food is obviously a dominant theme of the market, the underlying message is one of environmental preservation and community engagement. The Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market aims to bring together locals and visitors, producers and consumers and encourage everyone to decrease their carbon footprint through the consumption of local, seasonal produce. Furthermore the market champions fair trade principles by supporting small, local producers and promoting a fair, ethical pricing structure. Wild Oats practises ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ and also supports the local nature conservancy and Sedgefield’s ‘slow town’ approach to life.
The Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market is an internationally renowned market for good reason. With top quality products and a noble driving force, only fools would barrel past the market, scooting down the N2 without pausing for a fresh bunch of veggies or artisanal baked or bottled supplies.
The Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market is open on Saturdays from 7.30 (summer) or 8.00 (winter) ‘til 11.30. You can find it just off the N2, 1.5km to the west off Sedgefield’s town centre. The market has clear signage and plenty of on-site parking.
All photos © Susan Garner