We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to markets in and around Cape Town. The ones that are practically on my doorstep are regular haunts. But then there are the special country markets one has to work just a little bit harder for – by driving 50 minutes instead of 15. The Groote Post Country Market is one of these gems. I’ve been numerous times and return again and again because, well, it’s just so fabulously different from the city markets.
For starters you get to breathe actual country air. Your car gets bragging rights by tasting some dirt road. There are cows, horses, goats and assorted other country creatures to admire along the way. And everybody is just a little bit friendlier – after all, this is the west coast.
The market is held on the grounds of the historic Groote Post wine estate on the last Sunday of every month (except for the winter months of May-July). It’s a seriously laid-back affair, with Darling and Yzerfontein locals eager to share their wares and pause for a natter about country life. This is a very family-friendly market with human wee ones (and the four-legged furry kind) welcomed with open arms.
For starters there are guided horseback rides. Given that it’s 15+ years since I’ve been on a horse, I decided in favour of preserving my dignity and against trying to haul myself up a mare. My up-for-anything 72-year-old friend, whom I dragged along to the market on my most recent visit, had other ideas. Riding a horse was still on her bucket list in her eighth decade. So naturally she slotted into the queue of excited 6-year-olds, trying hard not to look out of place. I’m not sure who had more fun – her finally being in a saddle, or me watching her trying to get into it. She was a bit exhausted afterwards I think, because she politely turned down my offer of a tractor ride next, opting instead for a glass of red wine…