New farmers’ market opens in Paarl

The Bosch family of Paarl, Alexander, mum Juanita, Joshua and two year-old Tamzin run a combined stall which offers hand-made dolls, a range of pickles and a variety of chilli plants.

With the plethora of markets in and around the Cape Winelands, it comes as something of a surprise to discover that there is nothing in Paarl and surrounds, but as of Saturday April 8, that has all changed.

Paarl resident Lynn Giles has started Pure Paarl Farmers’ Market at Zanddrift Vineyards, just off the N1 motorway on the R301 in Paarl.

The inaugural market on Saturday April 8 attracted 25 stallholders, and Lynn says that it will grow over time to about 50.

Two years in the making, the market is focused on the farmers who grow the produce, the artisans who turn the produce in to delicious edibles, and the crafters who create a wide array of useful items.

“I have buy-in and support from the municipality, the agricultural union, and the community in general,” says Lynne. “It’s the only farmer’s market in Paarl and surrounds, and it is farmer-friendly, family-friendly and kid-friendly. We want to make a difference by connecting the farmer directly to the consumer.”

To ensure that the market is attractive to vendors, there will only be one stallholder for each produce type, according to Lynn.

The array of goods on offer on Saturday included mulching products, organic vegetables, stylish clothing, pizzas, fresh-made coffee, preserved goods, paintings, succulents and air plants, fresh juices, chilli plants, pickles and hand-made dolls.

The stallholders are enthusiastic about the prospects for the market. “I think this market has great potential. It is in beautiful surroundings, and it doesn’t feel as if I’m working while I’m here. I’ll be back every week,” says Johan Beck, who sells wood chips and mulching products.

Paarl resident Juanita Bosch and her sons, Joshua and Alexander, run a combined stall which sells hand-made dolls, a range of enticing pickles and a variety of chilli plants.

“We’re very optimistic about this market,” says Joshua.

“It’s going to be a great success. A lot of people passing by will come here to see our stuff and spread the word. By 11 o’clock this market will be bustling.

“Everything on our stand is grown by us, prepared and bottled by us, or made with our own hands. We’ll be expanding our range over the next few weeks.”

The market is in idyllic surroundings, with plenty of relaxation space, tables and chairs, large shade trees, and there is also ample parking. Wine and other beverages are also on sale, and many vendors have electronic payment facilities like Snapscan and Zapper.

Children are well catered for, with a supervised jumping castle and giant roly-poly ball on the lower lawn adjacent to the tasting room, and an extensive wooden jungle gym in the centre of the stallholder precinct.

The business model is unusual. Rather than charging a flat rate stallholder fee, Lynn changes stallholders 12.5% of their gross takings, with a minimum of R200 for the day.

“There is a risk in it for me, but the barrier to entry is not too high. I encourage vendors to set their prices at a level which will accommodate the stallholder fee,” says Lynn.

But as stall holder Sally Sewell, who sells a range of preserved goods, says: “It’s all about consistency in this business. Market goers expect their favourite vendors to be at the market when they go there, so it is vital that you’re at the market every week.”

Pure Paarl Farmers’ Market takes place every Saturday from 9am to 2pm, at Zanddrift Vineyards, R301, Paarl.

For more information, contact Lynn Giles at 071 131 1380 or email purepaarl@gmail.com.