Pure Paarl sustainable garden

Christine Stevens, in the sustainable market garden she has created for the Pure Paarl Farmers Market at Zandrift Vineyards near Paarl.

The centre of Lynn Giles’ world, other than daughter Lizzie and her menagerie, has become Pure Paarl Farmer’s Market (PPFM), at Zanddrift Vineyards.

Launched at the end of summer, a seemingly unsuitable time, it has weathered the winter with only three closed Saturdays due to wet weather, and emerged into spring with many new offerings.

Pure Paarl Market has a core of marketers who sell fresh locally produced products, seasonal produce, fresh bread from Fairview, and many others.

Last Saturday, fresh blueberries and fresh asparagus were on sale.

A few short weeks ago, Lynn’s crusade to establish a food garden on site to provide to visitors directly from the farm was realised. Zanddrift owner, Hennie Visser, granted permission to PPFM to use a piece of land adjacent the market area.

Christine Stevens, edible garden consultant in the Winelands, and a team of two gardeners recruited from the community, cleared the area of weeds and rocks and started laying out beds and planting vegetables.

The first harvest of lettuce and rocket was available at the spring market on Saturday September 2.

By Saturday September 16, the vegetable stall stocked in-house grown lettuce, rocket, fennel, mint and parsley, with Christine returning to the garden to pick more herbs as demand outstripped supply. Seasonal vegetables are packed in compostable cellophane bags, sold in brown paper bags or packed directly into shoppers’ own re-usable shopping bags.

The food garden project is an ongoing one, with the gardeners maintaining existing beds, planting, watering, weeding and digging further beds each Saturday.

An adjacent field is being planted with squashes and melons for the summer. Unused wooden crates have been planted with smaller herbs, and a scarecrow is in residence.

Pure Paarl Farmer’s Market continues to evolve and develop, realising Lynn’s philosophy of providing a family-friendly – including pets – venue for the community.

Visitors can park their cars adjacent to the market area and spend Saturday mornings shopping for fresh and local produce and products while being able to snack on various food offerings, choose a coffee, juice, beer or wine to drink, and relax on the lawns under the oak trees.

In addition, Lynn’s intention to teach the community to feed itself is also being realised as the two gardeners who work there on Saturdays earn an income, and have learned skills to pass on to their communities.

Lynn believes that networking in the community is essential and spends time meeting with new and existing producers, local officials and other possible interested or involved parties, and says a number
of new developments are in the queue to be introduced to residents in the area.

For more information contact Lynn Giles on purepaarl@gmail.co.za or 071 131 1380 or follow Pure Paarl Farmer’s Market on Facebook.