Recipes through the seasons – Sorrel Pesto in Winter

This great, seasonal recipe has been generously shared by Rishi, one half of the dynamic duo at Goodwill Mountain Farm.

Sorrel Pesto 

Sorrel pesto is a quintessential Stanford Food Heroes recipe as it’s local, seasonal and sustainable. These days, sorrel grows abundantly everywhere around Stanford, so get your scissors and baskets out and go hunting for these heart-shaped beauties. The great thing about foraged food is that it is, per definition, organic and super fresh, which is more than you can say about most of the food in the supermarkets! Sorrel is a nutrient powerhouse especially rich in Vitamin C which is great for a mid-winter immunity boost, and the nuts and seeds in the recipe are high in fats to keep you warm on these cooler days.

Ingredients

A big bunch of sorrel (approx. 120 g)

15-20 leaves of kale with stems removed (spinach would work too)

1 cup cashews, soaked for 30 mins in hot water and drained

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

4 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

1 tsp salt

Dash of olive oil

Method 

Start by dry-roasting the sunflower and pumpkin seeds together on a frying pan. They’re done when they start cracking and splitting. Let them cool off before adding to the rest of the ingredients to avoid the pesto oxidizing too fast. Add all other ingredients to a food processor and pulse until it has a creamy texture with some chunks left – pesto texture, basically. If the pesto is too tart for your liking, more kale can be added, and if it’s not creamy enough, more cashews can be added. This pesto goes well on pasta and sandwiches and can be loosened with olive oil to make a salad dressing. Also excellent to eat on crackerbread standing by the kitchen counter late at night! Store in an airtight container in the fridge where it will keep for at least a week.

*Wood sorrel (genus Oxalis) has heart-shaped leaves and is often confused with clover. The leaves are a little bigger and taste sour, as do the yellow flowers. Kids in Stanford call them sour flowers. Go on, try them!

Words by Rishi from Goodwill Mountain, and Phil Murray

Herfsfees, 6-7 April 2018

Vibrating with autumn colours

This was the first year that a small vibrant group of like-minded people launched the Stanford Herfsfees, a new arts festival for Stanford with the goal of reaching deep into our community and uplifting all with art, music and creativity. The line-up was generous, starting with a week-long arts and crafts workshop run by local NPO, Creative Skills Factory, which climaxed at the parade to launch Herfsfees on the  Friday evening. The spirit and exuberance of the minstrels was intoxicating as people joined in the revelry of music and dance, and followed the Baruch performers through the village. Children wore the outfits and masks that they had had been making all week.

The Baruch Entertainers were invited to Herfsfees to help launch the Friday evening carnival to rounds of applause. Villagers and children joined in the parade as they danced, jived, drummed, trumpeted and entertained their way from the Community Centre to the NGKerk garden, homebase of the newest Arts Festival in Stanford. The Herfsfees has its heart deeply rooted in the Stanford community, and plans to grow the annual Herfsfees event with an ongoing community arts programme that is run year-round in tandem with Creative Skills Factory.

Not only will the ongoing arts programme focus on Stanford children, and keep them educated, exposed to the arts, entertained and off the streets, it also hopes to negotiate a mentorship of a minstrel band in Stanford with the Baruch Entertainers, Carnival Champions of the Cape Town Carnival 2018. Baruch is committed to improving the social situation in communities through music tutoring and workshops, and organizers of the Herfsfees are already discussing ongoing collaboration between Stanford and Baruch.

Herfsfees also included a food market at the NGKerk, and a band line-up to die for! Tribal Echo stole the hearts all the audience on the Friday Night with their funky local flavour and cool drums, trombone and energy, while Mr Cat and the Jakkal had everyone dancing. Ibuyambo, Hatchetman, the Nick Turner Band, Dax Butler and the Hearts of Darkness, Taleswapper, The Time Flies and Gert Vlok Nel, along with DJChina had the village dancing to their beat. Various venues hosted different bands, and buskers kept the day time visitors entertained. Nick Turner, Tribal Echo and Ibuyambo offered free workshops on the Saturday – such generosity of intention and sharing of the delights in the arts made Stanford a warm and welcoming festival venue.

Photograph: Taylum Meyer

Thank you to the organizers who poured their hearts into this event, to the venues who hosted musicians, to the businesses and individuals who invested in earlybird tickets, to the Cape Whale Coast office of the Overstrand Municipality who contributed towards the Creative Works craft workshops, those who donated supplies, to the musicians and artists, and to all those who bought tickets and supported this event. Well done Herfsfees 2018! We can’t wait to see what Herfsfees 2019 will bring.

Photograph: Lloyd Koppel

Words by Phil Murray

Watershed rocking the Hills

Watershed started their ‘short, and very sweet’ April Road Tour on the lawn of the Tasting Room at Stanford Hills Estate on Easter Sunday. Easter is traditionally a day spent with family; in my family, we don’t go beyond the garden perimeter which is scoured for chocolate in the early hours, and casually rescanned throughout the day for any escapee eggs. This year, Easter Sunday also fell on April Fools Day. These factors might have made a live performance, in the late afternoon, a fairly hard sell for a live concert. Was it all a joke? We know Sunday concerts work in Kirstenbosch, but life slows down when you come to Stanford, even more than it does when you pop out of the city bustle, and into the Mother City’s botanical gardens. And over the Easter long weekend, would anyone make it out of pyjamas by mid-afternoon in Stanford, let alone into a car and up to a wine farm with sugared-up kids?

Watershed frontman, Craig Hinds, admitted to being unsure whether a Sunday was going to work in Stanford. But luckily for us, it worked a charm and hoards of people turned up to listen to the dulcet tones of one of South Africa’s favourite acoustic bands that has been weaving magic since 2000. Bedouin tents provided shade as people lolled and lounged on picnic blankets and deckchairs, and kids cavorted on the jumping castle and paddled around the waterlily dam. It couldn’t have looked more idyllic – a ‘perfect day, with perfect people,’ Hinds called it. A neighbouring farmer pulled up in a tractor loaded with couches, kids perched on the top of the sturdy swing, and I hastened to spread out my blanky in one of the last remaining central spots. I quickly realised the reason why it was still available was because some early birds had marked out their spots with camping chairs, and were going to partially block my view. But my heart was filled with good vibes and an overriding sense of South African good will – nothing a gentleman’s Panama hat could obscure.

My goodwill faltered when I saw the length of the beer queue, but the peppy team of Stanford Hills barmaids made quick work of it, keeping my good mood intact. And the food trucks handled the crowds with ease, serving tornado-tatoes and other delicious festival-style food.

Watershed kicked off their performance with ‘Close my eyes’ – a solid favourite from the 2006 Mosaic album. Everyone was swept away with the melody, singing along and swaying to the familiar tune. The 1000 strong audience was made up of a delightful mixture of young and old, glamourous and casual,  and the band engaged warmly with the crowd, getting cheers from those from Hermanus, Cape Town, Stanford and even a contingent from the middle of the Free State.

The line-up included a sprinkling of original songs from all the Watershed albums, including Watch the Rain, My love is gone, Nothing about you is the same and Letters, glittering and perfect on a balmy afternoon. And as it was Easter Sunday, a pucker Watershed rendition of Leonard Cohen’s epic Hallelujah seemed fitting. A rhythmic cover of the Waterboys’ Fisherman’s Blues and Counting Crow’s Mr Jones nailed the brief as those audience members who came of age in the 90s sang along. A few couples were spotted busting out some langarm moves on the bank of the dam – always a good sign.

The variety of instruments from the bass and acoustic guitars, drum and violin to the ukelele, tambourine, and harmonica, along with resonant lyrics is what has earned Watershed wide respect and a loyal following across generations. Guest artist Renata Riedemann’s violin added a sound reminiscent of Irish moor mists as well as the jaunty sound of a fiddle. And they saved their first hit, Indigo Girl (2000) for last, delivering it loud and true to the fans. What a superb Sunday afternoon! Step aside Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts because Stanford Hills Estate delivers a top notch open air concert. And we have it on good authority that the team from the Hills is going to keep building their live music line-up, keeping it fresh, proudly South African and strictly full of good vibes.

Thank you to Stellenbrau, sponsors of this Watershed April Road Tour. The beer and the gees was lekker.

Words by Phil Murray

The Stanford River Festival 2018 – plenty of water in the Klein River

If you missed it last year, you’ll be happy to know that the Stanford River Festival is back, hosted in the beautiful village of Stanford by the Grootbos Foundation and the Stanford Canoe Club. The Klein River, while little, is full of water and ready to offer cool respite to our friends and family from the drier regions of the Western Cape. Come on down to the riverfront at the bottom of King Street from 16 – 18 March and join in the paddling fun.

The weekend will kick off with a cruise on the Friday at 17:00 to ‘blow out the cobwebs’ in preparation for the main action on the Saturday. Saturday offers events of 5km, 10km, 15km and guppy (juniors) races, open to all– SUPs, K1s, K2s, K3s, sea kayaks, Indian canoes, surf skis and guppies. Registration starts at 07:30 at the bottom of King Street.

2017 Stanford River Festival

The program includes a WCCU President’s Trophy event, in which a number of current and former Springbok canoeists take part and special categories for Surf Ski and SUP participants have been accommodated for.

2017 Stanford River Festival

The event will be supported by a selection of food stalls, a face painting stall to keep children entertained and a local craft beer and wine tent showcasing the local wines and beers of the region. A selection of covetable raffle prizes will be on offer. Be sure to enter for your chance to win. The support market offers plenty of fun, food and music for spectators so slap on some sun-cream, and come and lounge on the lush lawn of the Wandelpad while you cheer in the paddlers.

2017 Stanford River Festival

All proceeds of the event support the ‘Rock the Boat’ Stanford Canoe Development Academy which supports local children accessing the sport of canoeing. This programme has grown to include training three times a week and access to regional regattas.  Watch for the academy juniors participating in the races – you should recognize them by their turquoise T-shirts!

We look forward to seeing you all on the picturesque banks of the Klein River of the Stanford Village!

For further information, contact: Wilien Van Zyl, Stanford Canoeing Academy, Email: vanzylwilien@gmail.com

Or follow the event on Facebook here

Relaxed Mountain Biking at its Best in the Stanford MTB Classic

Three hundred mountain bikers experienced the rebirth of relaxed stage race riding on the 17th and 18th of February in the 2018 Stanford MTB Classic. The two day race was in reality more of a stage ride, with untimed routes and no prizes for the first riders across the line encouraging everyone to slow down and enjoy the magnificent scenery.

The Stanford MTB Classic featured a relaxed atmosphere where stopping to take photos and take in the scenery was the order of the day. Photo by Oakpics.com.

Hosted by the Stanford Valley Guest Farm, in the fertile vineyard lined valleys and on the pristine fynbos covered slopes of the Perdeberg Mountains, to the east of the country village of Stanford the event took in some of the Overberg’s best kept secrets. The 46 and 40 kilometre stage distances meant that time in the saddle, even at a leisurely pace, was limited meaning time relaxing off the bike in the beautiful race village could be maximised.

The swing bridge over the Waboomsrivier was one of the highlights of Stage 1. Photo by Oakpics.com

Stage one featured a mix of smooth gravel district roads, a little more rugged vineyard jeep tracks, a grassy 4×4 trail to the highest point of the day and the flowing Paardenberg Farm singletracks which wind their way along, and across a couple of times, the Waboomsrivier. The highlight of the day was either the swing-bridge crossing of the Waboomsrivier or the descent back to the Stanford Valley Guest Farm; depending on who one asked. The hot weather was tempered by a cooling wind, but that only served to ensure that the Spar water points, stocked with koeksisers, watermelon and the more conventional water point snacks were utilized to a greater extent.

The festive atmosphere extended off the bike where chats about the trails and scenery flowed along with the excellent local wine and beer. Photo by Oakpics.com.

Post stage, riders kicked back and relaxed under the shady oaks on the Stanford Valley Guest Farm lawns; with the riders enjoying a delicious lunch before whiling away their afternoon with a good book, an excellent beer, or deep in conversation over one of the region’s world class wines.

The pristine fynbos of the Perdeberg and Kleinrivier Mountains provided the backdrop for beautiful mountain biking. Photo by Oakpics.com.

Stage two featured more scenic 4×4 trails, this time along the foothills of the Kleinrivier Mountains as the route meandered towards Stanford itself, passing by the Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary and through the safer but no less distraction filled Sir Robert Stanford Wine Estate, where an impromptu wine tasting awaited. Following on the heels of port tasting at Vaalvlei the shorter distance of just 40 kilometres was perhaps a wise option by race organisers Freebody-Sports.

The winding gravel roads of the Overberg provided easy riding for much of the route. Photo by Oakpics.com.

The conclusion of the final stage was followed by lunch under the oaks and a lucky draw prize-giving, where riders regardless of where in the field they finished stood an equal chance of winning one of the prizes donated by the Stanford MTB Classic sponsors. While each and every rider contributed to making the event a festive and social success a special word of praise must go to Lizelle Cloete and Charl Avenant who dressed up on both days and as such have won a weekend’s accommodation at the beautiful Stanford Hills Guest Farm for their exceptional spirit.

Lizelle Cloete & Charl Avenant embodied the spirit of the Stanford MTB Classic by dressing up for both days of the event and as such have won a weekend away at Stanford Hills. Photo by Oakpics.com.

For riders looking to experience a more intense mountain biking experience, entries are open for Freebody-Sports’ sister event, the Greyt Escape. The event is a three day mountain biking stage race which takes place from the mountain biking mecca of Greyton from the 15th to the 17th of June 2018. For more information on the Greyt Escape please visit www.thegreytescape.co.za.

The 2019 Stanford MTB Classic meanwhile is pencilled in for the 16th and 17th of February next year, and for more information please visit www.stanfordmtbclassic.co.za.

Words by Seamus Allardice

Valentine’s plans

What’s cooking, good looking? Are you dazzling your date with a homecooked meal, making a homemade card, and decorating your lounge with tea lights and rose petals? For those of you who are all thumbs when it comes to crafts, more boerie-on-the-braai than fillet steak, and are about as romantic as a beige pair of secret socks, we have some suggestions to help you surprise your Valentine.

To book for a comedy evening with Mary Steward at the Tasting Room at Stanford Hills Estate, and enjoy this midweek Valentine’s Day with Date Night for the whole family, click here. A blackboard menu and local wines will put hearts in your eyes.

Feel like a romantic meal for just two people, in the restaurant or courtyard at Coffee Corner? Enjoy the welcome bubbly and 3 intimate courses click here.

An al fresco picnic basket packed with lovely treats and a waiter on hand as your recline on the bank of the lily pond will fill your heart with pleasure at Zesty Lemon at Sir Robert Stanford Estate. For more information or to book, click here

For something a little more on the wild side, why not book a special Valentine Sunset Visit at Panthera Africa and feel the deep rumbling roaring of the big cats at sunset? For more information or to book, click here.

Klein River Cheese has decided to stretch Valentine’s Day right from 14-17 February, so if a basket brimming with cheesey treats and a blanket thrown open on a lush lawn sounds like heaven to you, make sure you extend your Valentine time to include this.

You can pack your own picnic basket with charcuterie from Erwin or Martin’s Deli, mature cheeses from Klein River Cheese and buttery bakes from Ou Meul. The Fynbos Distillery sells delicious grappa-based liqueurs, and Stanford Harvest has a wine shop with beautifully labelled wines that will knock your socks off. The Stanford Wine Route has some specials so pop in to one of the 9 boutique farms and choose your favourite. Welgesind has a special offer on their Romanse Blanc de Noir and Boschrivier is offering a cheese platter and bottle of wine at a show-stopping price!

If fresh flowers are the best way to your Valentine’s heart, why not keep them local and ditch the long-stem roses? Fresh bunches of fynbos are available in the village from OK MiniMark and the Village Emporium. Ou Meul has some beautiful wild olive saplings for the gift that will bear fruit year after year. And for an exquisite orchid grown right here in Stanford at Eikenhoff Nursery, call Debra to make an appointment and surprise your love with one of these beauties!

Antjie’s Handmade Naturals are available from the shop on the stoep of the Stanford Hotel – sprinkle some of the Rose Geranium bath salts into a semi-shallow waterwise bath, balance a glass of Cap Classique from one of the local Stanford Wine Route farms on the edge of the bath, and let the evening follow its own path.

And if you are single, footloose and fancy-free this Valentine’s Day, we strongly recommend the bath with bubbly anyway!

Words by Phil Murray, Stanford Tourism 028 341 0340

Stanford Food Heroes in partnership with FoodforUs

The Stanford Food Heroes is a collective of Stanford growers and producers who live and work in the area surrounding Stanford. You can inhale the scent of their herbs and aroma of their buttery bakes, roll their tomatoes and lemons around in your hands and breath in the spices of their charcuterie at the weekly Wednesday Morning Farmers’ Market at Graze, and the Saturday Morning Market on the Stanford Hotel stoep. Besides these markets, some heroes supply or run their own restaurants and delis. Their identity is that they hold home-grown, local produce dear and believe in keeping the supply chain local and lekker. They believe that the best things in life take time.

In 2017, a small group of ideas people identified the Stanford Food Heroes and the increasingly foodie identity of Stanford, and approached them to ask if they were interested in being a part of a new phone application trial aimed at marketing fresh surplus to the closest market, and reducing food loss. What a great idea for a communications app to team up with a group of growers and producers – the Stanford Food Heroes could really sink their teeth into this partnership.

The new FoodforUs app is a United Nations-funded application that links local growers and buyers. It was designed to ensure that edible and nutritious food is not wasted at farm level but instead fulfils its primary purpose of feeding people. It will do this by linking local groups of growers (farmers at all scales) and buyers (feeding schemes, early childhood development centres, restaurants, guesthouses and individuals) through a convenient mobile app. The app will provide an overview and images of what is available from each grower and enables growers and buyers to communicate on payment and delivery methods.

Food is wasted at farm levels for a variety of reasons. Retailers sometimes cancel orders at the last-minute leaving farmers unable to find appropriate markets for their produce in time, or farmers can produce a surplus that they have not planned for in terms of marketing and sale. The FoodforUs app provides farmers with immediate access to a group of local buyers.

The app is available on the Google and iTunes play stores. Once registered, participants will be sent a password that they use to log into the app to view the produce available. This research trial is being conducted in Stanford, Worcester and two pilot sites in the Eastern Cape. Once the initial phase is complete, users’ feedback will be incorporated into a revision of the app’s features and the platform will be released to a wider audience.

Follow the project on Facebook @foodforusza or contact the team directly on info@foodforus.co.za.

FoodforUs looks forward to working with Stanford’s innovative food networks to trial the app that helps to reduce food waste by linking local growers and buyers. More information can be found on the project at www.foodforus.co.za.

*For more on the Stanford Food Heroes, click here

Words by Phil Murray and Stephanie Swanepoel

Having lunch at Havercroft’s

If you like the idea of a sitdown Sunday lunch, soaking up winter sunbeams outside in a sunny courtyard, or inside next to the crackling fireplace, then Havercroft’s is the perfect cottage restaurant to be. The simple white-washed walls and cotton table cloths, with unpretentious clay water jugs, and even a bit of peely paint, allow guests to linger and feel quite at home. Innes welcomes guests in her brusque but warm way, throwing a few jokes and witty comments their way to make sure they unwind and loosen their collars. Havercroft’s is about good food, relaxed chatter, loud laughter and warmth, and Innes’ unique brand of humour and sarcasm is meant to put people at ease. She proclaims she is an unwilling waitress but she is attentive and alert, topping up every sipped wine glass and drained water jug. Her anecdotes and impromptu poetry performances make her part of the experience as she works the floor effortlessly.

The chalk board menu is short and simple, but don’t assume that will make your choice any easier. Innes says she has not been able to take the starter of Devilled Lamb Kidneys off the menu in 15 years so we had to try them. The kidneys kickstarted the meal with a clout of red wine and paprika, served on a crispy, savoury  rosti of potato and parsley – packed with flavour and a sensory mixture of textures. We also ordered the creamy cauliflower soup which came with nubs of strong blue cheese and buttery cheese straws shaped like paddles, perfect for swirling through the velvety velouté!

The main course was equally difficult to choose so we settled on trying the Chicken Ballotine and the Pork Belly. The chicken was soft and tender, and the stuffing – sweet and savoury with onions, garlic and dates. A pomme dauphine of choux and mashed potato whipped together to form a quenelle was served along with a mustard cream sauce – quite exquisite! The belly of pork was an enormously generous serving, served with  nutty lentils, winter veggies, beetroot and apple chutney, and two spears of flawless crackling – a sensory experience.

We were certainly sated after mains but it is not every day one gets to eat Brydon’s food, so we put good manners aside and dived into the chocolate brownie with vanilla ice-cream and nutty brittle sprinkles. It made us sigh with pleasure.

Brydon packs full flavour into every dish. He and Innes work hard and are proud of their cottage restaurant. They share their best food, favourite local wines and their energy with their guests, and the experience of eating at Havercroft’s is an intimate one. People leave with bellies full of great food, and warm chuckles.

 

By Phil Murray

 

The Story of Creation in 7 chapters

 

Not far from Stanford is the seaside village of Hermanus – a great day trip destination with seaside cliffs, world class land- and water-based whale watching and a beautiful hidden valley called Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, heaven on earth! Excellent restaurants and wine farms are tucked along this valley, now more accessible than ever because of the R320 upgrade.  Creation Wines is one of these stunning and surprising estates which brims with creativity, passion and fun. Not only can you taste wine and go on a traditional tour through the vineyards and fynbos, you can blend and label your own wine, sample the Creation wines and menu through a selection of pairings, order from the blackboard menu, or indulge in the newest pairing – 7 courses of food and wine served to the table in a story format – the Story of Creation from the egg to the Big Bang!

The Story of Creation is part adventure, part witty comedy as the chefs weave their magic to pair food with Creation wines. Nothing is left to chance. The glassware is elegant, the plates and dishes are earthen and organically shaped, and the sommeliers are relaxed and eloquent, reading the mood of the diners well. The view is out-of-this-world, and the experience is heady and hedonistic…this is well worth booking as it will feed your soul with earthly pleasures and abundance.

Proudly locally sourced produce is conjured into dishes that show off elegant wines. Take a deep breath and dive in – immerse yourself in the fun. And book a shuttle to drive you back to Stanford so you can really let your hair down.

Words and photographs by Phil Murray

Quality Rural Education in Stanford

One would agree that Stanford is one of the most beautiful small towns in the Western Cape. It is also the centre of a diverse farming community that is home to a number of communities.  Unfortunately these communities face a host of obstacles including poverty, lack of transport, substance abuse as well as the lack of quality education.  All too often, rural schools focus on quantity to keep their heads above water, rather than quality.

Koos and Joanie Smith, founders of the Fynbos Community Foundation

That is where our story starts. Koos Smith started a Fynbos export business on Langverwacht farm on the Papiesvlei/Elim road in 1991.  From here, Langverwacht Fynbos grew to the successful business it is today with its head office in the industrial area of Stanford. Soon Koos saw the desperate need of the communities he worked with and there the dream of a rural school with small classes and individual attention was born.

The Fynbos Community Foundation (FCF) was officially registered as an NPO in November 2012. The FCF has developed and implemented the Rural Education SA (RESA) program, to address the educational, social and vocational needs of rural children in South Africa. The ultimate goal is to equip our children to become self-sufficient, well rounded individuals.

Fynbos Career School students learning how to arrange Fynbos centrepieces

The program has successfully been piloted in three schools namely Fynbos Academy and Career school on Langverwacht Farm, Hoopland Academy in the industrial area and Blouvlei Academy and Career School outside Wellington. The schools are all operated by RESA and Joanie, Koos’ wife and experienced educator, visits all three sites every week to provide academic support.

Thriving, vibrant, positive learning environments have been created and will continue to grow from strength to strength. Many lives have been impacted positively as the RESA schools provide a beacon of hope in struggling communities.

In 2017 FCF established two Career Schools for young people between the ages of 14 and 18 years of age where the focus is on both academic and practical development. This is a 4 year course where learners are enabled to qualify in preparation for entering the employment market, or equipped to engage in entrepreneurial activity.

Grade R learner, Marihano Jacobs, enjoying his lunch of spaghetti bolognese

The RESA programme caters for transport with 4 busses to and from school, provides nutritious breakfast and lunch and most importantly, provides rich and individualised educational, cultural and sporting instruction and assistance, in the lives of our children.

If you have time to spare and a willing heart to serve then please do get in touch with us as we would love to hear from you. You can find our head office in Centro Jardim next to Spar in Victoria Street. Pop in for a quick hello or book a visit to one or more of our schools.

Alternatively, email Elizabeth at elizabeth@ruraleducationsa.com