I seem to be on a market mission right now, two new markets in two weeks and an inclination to check out the new market at De Waterkant as soon as possible. The Fresh Goods Market in Stellenbosch has been going for quite a while, but this Saturday was their first day at their new home. The market used to be situated at the Dorp Street Square, Bosman’s Crossing but is now to be found down the road at Oude Libertas. From their website:
The Oude Libertas Stellenbosch is being reinvented to showcase the very best of the region’s food, wine, culture, theatre and creative arts. The Distell Arts & Culture department is relocating to the Oude Libertas estate from where it will continue and expand its vital work to develop the creative and performing arts in South Africa.
So Mother City Living roped me into going to check the market out in it’s new location. After my enjoyable visit to the Earth Fair Market the weekend before, I was easily roped. Oude Libertas is actually a great venue, it has plenty of parking and a lovely spacious courtyard in addition to the main building itself. I have actually been to Oude Libertas several times before to picnic in the gardens and watch a show in the Amphitheatre, so I know that it has a lot of potential.
Obviously going on the first day meant that not everything had been completed. The downstairs section of the main building was still being cleaned out and prepared. When that is ready, there will be stalls down there too which will relieve some of the crowding and congestion. They have plenty of other plans, for instance (also from their website):
As part of the Slow Food International movement the ‘Slow Food Stellenbosch’ convivium will create a restaurant where fresh, local and seasonal food will be on the menu during the week. Delectable picnics will be available seven days a week and can be enjoyed on the lawns in the piazza.
Walking through the courtyard we briefly browsed the crafts section (we were hungry so anything that wasn’t edible didn’t hold our attention for long). Then we wandered into the food section and fell into a trance due to the smell of fresh coffee. Once we had obtained said coffees, we continued to browse the stalls. There were several that were also at the Earth Fair Market, but also many additional ones. All good quality stands, with some tasty options for breakfast or lunch. After browsing and sampling for a bit we bought ourselves some brunch and headed outside. At this point, the Fresh Goods Market really differentiates itself from other markets because apart from the tables and benches, there is plenty of space and grass and trees. We found ourselves a grassy spot shaded by trees and proceeded to sit there chatting and just enjoying the vibe of the market for about 3 hours!
When the market was in the Dorp Street Square, it couldn’t offer a space to sit on the grass and picnic or just relax. This is a new element that I think will make this market a popular destination on Saturday mornings and if they do a good job with the restaurant, etc during the week, it will be a destination for any day of the week. Adding live music to the mix will make it so much more than a market, perhaps it would be better described as a Saturday Festival.
I think the association with the Slow Food movement and the Distell Arts & Culture department will create powerful synergies. I was going to say I look forward to seeing the end result, but I don’t think there will be an end result. I think it will be an ‘organic’ destination, continually changing, growing and adapting so that each time you go there it will be slightly different. That’s an exciting concept and I’m already looking forward to my next visit.
Stellenbosch Fresh Goods Market
Oude Libertas, Stellenbosch