Wednesday, April 21:
The AGM will be held at Silwood Kitchen at 18h00. David Donald, a suburban bee-keeper, will speak to us on beekeeping and honey. Our committee has been sadly depleted since two members have left us to for the Slow Food Mother City convivium (see below). We need new committee members, and would welcome nominations.

Saturday, April 24 to Tuesday, April 27:
Annual SA Cheese Festival. No tickets sold at the gate. Bookings at Computicket or Checkers; R110 Saturday or Sunday, R90 Monday or Tuesday or R70 for seniors any day. More details at On Monday morning there will be a presentation of Slow awards to selected artisanal cheese producers.

Friday, May 14-Sunday May 16:
Franschhoek Literary Festival: On Friday 14, there will be a foodie talk hosted by Donald Paul, who will be sharing ‘amuse geules’ with Mark Dendy-Young, Marlene van der Westhuizen and Myrna Robins, at 11.30 in the Dutch Reformed church hall.

Saturday, May 22:
Visit to The Nice Company in Tokai for a talk and tasting on their delectable ice creams and frozen yogurts by owner Cherylle Cowley.

6-9 August:

Robertson Slow. This long weekend is an opportunity to ‘indulge in the laid-back comfort of the Valley, at a leisurely pace, leaving you utterly refreshed.’ The Robertson Wine Valley is looking to attract visitors yearning to experience the charm of country life in intimate settings characterised by each farm’s unique personal touch. While enjoying time-honoured activities, visitors will be afforded the opportunity to interact with wine-makers and wine farmers, in an informal ambience, getting to know them and their respective families. For more information, Tel 023 626 3167, or email


Saturday 11 September:
Visit to the Khoi-Khoin indigenous garden at Solms Delta in Franchhoke, followed by a lunch featuring some of the traditional plants used by the Khoi in their food. Renata Coetzee’s book will be on sale (see Book Review below).



End of Year Spit Braai

On Sunday 29 November we had a wonderfully convivial gathering at the home of Stephen and Pat Flesch on the banks of the Zeekoevlei. Besides the superb lamb braaied over wood coals by Leon, there were delicious salads provided by various Slow members. Our fundraising raffle raised the sum of R8 000.00, which was donated to Pat Featherstone for her Soil for Life initiative.




Dear members of the CT Slow Food Convivium


Soil for Life: growing food; growing people; growing communities
We would like to thank you from the bottom of our collective Soil for Life heart for your generous donation to our work. R8 000 will provide support for at least 16 home gardeners for one year in terms of seed, seedlings, compost, mulch and herb plants for a summer and winter planting. It will also go towards creating opportunities for these people to grow themselves from the inside out though our life skills programme which runs concurrently with the food gardening training.
The Home Gardening programme for 2009 was an unmitigated success with a total of 320 new home gardeners in over ten different areas in and around Cape Town. Some very beautiful and bountiful veggie patches have sprung up in the most unexpected places and people are benefiting from the fresh, nutritious food that they're growing outside their back doors. We've worked out that the spin-off from each small 'patch of salvation' is considerable. One home gardener’s efforts support, on average, four to six other people. In addition, these people are going into the new year with hope and courage, having realised their own potential for creating change in their lives. They are recognising that the world 'radiates possibility' of a better life for them and their families.
We have set out targets even higher for 2010 with a total of 450 new gardeners anticipated. At the time of writing, we already have 109 people registered, paid up, and undergoing their training. New groups are springing up all the time and are waiting in the ‘wings’ to get their gardens going. Your interest and support have helped to plant the seeds of change in the communities in which we work. Thank you all for your generosity.
I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Soil for Life team, of wishing you all a new year of 'simple abundance'. Go well.
Kind regards,

Pat Featherstone



We realised in the morning of Saturday 20 February that it was going to be a very hot day, but the early morning drive out to the Noree and Nuy valleys was pleasant, and the scenery took us out of the city atmosphere in mind and spirit.
Bruce Gilson of Tierkloof/Spaarhoek met our group, and told us about the journey he and his wife Alison had made to establish this certified organic farm. We sampled some of their excellent products before going to the peach orchards to pick (and eat) delicious fruit from the trees.
This farm produces apricots, peaches, plums, citrus, mangoes, prickly pears, grapes, olives and vegetables. They make the range of Tierhoek Organic jams and dried fruit. There is also accommodation in available in self-catering cottages on the farm (see article below on how they achieved their organic certification).



Beautiful organic plums growing at Tierhoek

Slow members at Tierhoek                


On arrival at Toontjiesrivier for lunch, we heard that they were in the midst of a water crisis: the baboons in the mountain, feeling very thirsty in the heat of the day, had quenched their thirst by breaking open the farm water pipes, leaving the farm without running water. Bryce had to produce a meal for the Slow members under the most trying circumstances. We nevertheless were able to cool ourselves in the swimming pool while waiting for the delayed lunch. We felt that the term ‘slow’ was given its full meaning while waiting to sample the delights of his cooking. The meal, when it arrived, was delicious, using produce and wine from the surrounding area. Hats off to Bryce for keeping his cool in hot and extremely difficult circumstances.
By mid-afternoon the temperature had reached 42 degrees in the Nuy valley, and we were thankful for air-conditioning in the car on the drive home.
This farm has guest cottages, and offers meals if requested.



by Bruce Gilson


In January 1998 we moved onto what was basically a canning farm producing Super Gold apricots, Bulida apricots, Yellow Cling peaches.

In our first year the Supergolds did fantastically and we had a record harvest. The cannery took everything and paid us very well. The peach price was also fairly good. We decided to plant more apricots and renew some of the peaches. This was the last time it happened! The following year the canneries moved the goal posts and refused to take Supergold, as their machines couldn’t depip them. The quality requirements for peaches were increased considerably. The writing was on the wall for the canning factories, and our little farm, if we didn’t do something different.


Both Alison and I were both horrified by the volume, toxicity and cost of the sprays we were using on the orchards. The peaches were sprayed up to 15 times in the year with a concoction of heavy organo-phosphates and foliar feeds. We killed the weeds 3 times a year with a systemic weed killer that’s banned or restricted in Europe. Our spray man had to go for yearly check ups to see how contaminated he was. Let alone the safety suits, breathing masks and heavy duty rubber gloves that had to be worn. The chemicals have to be stored in fire proof rooms with forced ventilation. We had to have emergency showers for accidental spillage and ‘enter and leave’ times in orchards so the farm workers don’t get contaminated from fall-out and residues on the trees. The soils were hard and crusty with very little living in them. Not a worm in sight - soil should have a deep earthy smell, ours did not. The reason for this was that our soils were getting salt-based fertiliser two to three times a year at 50 to 80Kg per Ha per shot. This just could not be right; we were killing our farm, our staff and our selves.


We also realised that as a small mountain farm we just could not survive on what the canneries wanted to pay us. We needed a new market for our apricots, peaches and plums.

Going organic was the only way to go!

We approached the BSA (British Soil Association) and SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance) as we thought they had the most comprehensive, respected, consistent organic guidelines and had the most trustworthy reputation here and in Europe.


It took a while to get my head around the principles and practices of Organic farming and get used to jokes from all my neighbours, at our social braais.


We started by planting new apricot, peach and plum orchards and put them into ‘Organic Registration’ with a pre audit from SGS, while keeping the old trees conventional for the time being. This was because we could not afford the expected production drop and I had to learn how to farm organically. After the first year’s audit SGS put the trees into ‘Organic Conversion’ for two years. SGS then audit the farm every year with the option of an unannounced audit at any time. They have full access to our management records and our financial records. Soil, leaf and water samples are taken as well. Two years later we were allowed to call the young orchards ‘Organic’ and market them as such. The old trees were then put through a four year process as they had been conventionally farmed for so long. The certification required they were in conversion for a year longer. They actually took quite a lot of strain having been on fertiliser all their lives ... cold turkey! Production dropped and branches actually died back and there was minimum re-growth. With composts, mulches and compost tea we are slowly getting them back.


With the markets in Woolworths, Waitrose (UK) and various small outlets we packed furiously. We have a top quality product and everyone wants it. But the waste is huge and this made us launch off into jams and dried fruit and develop our own brand ‘Tierhoek Organic’. We are fortunate as there are no other certified organic jams or dried fruit in South Africa. However we did not just want to trade on this but also be a product that tasted fantastic. We are fortunate in that we are able to pack the jam with fruit. By putting in 65% fruit we make a jam worthy of anyone’s granny or ouma.

The dried fruit is ripened on the tree and then dried in large drying machines which basically warm up and blow air around, removing the moisture. There is no need for sulphur or Methyl bromide fumigation which is what most dried fruit is treated with for colour preservation and fungus prevention. Ugh!

We are now selling our products across South Africa, Namibia and Mauritius. Some of the dried fruit has gone into biscuits which are sold in the USA. This year we hope to move into the European market.

Our soft citrus, satsumas and clementines, have struggled with the lack of nutrients to produce packable fruit. Having started drying them in the form of naartjie bites we have now started covering them in dark organic chocolate…out of this world!

We are a small farm with a very dedicated team who are vital to it all happening. Alison and I have a ball doing this and we know we are selling something out of this world, but boy it takes a lot of precious time and energy and we don’t really know just how big it’s all going to get. We love having our five farm cottages which we rent to visitors, as a way of showing off our amazing farm. Having guests come and stay who can leave with that feeling of rest and tranquillity is something which we very much appreciate.



Saturday 13 March dawned fine and clear and, fortunately, not too hot. Members gathered on the lawns in front of the historic Joostenberg Manor House, before being taken on the back of the trailer to pick the grapes. A great time was had by all, including a number of very enthusiastic children, first picking, then watching the grapes being stripped from their stalks and poured into the vats, and finally climbing in and treading them. Everyone then returned to the Manor House, where a well-earned and delicious breakfast awaited us, eaten under the trees, and accompanied by the excellent Joostenberg wines. In the relaxed, informal setting, the general opinion expressed was that this was one of the best harvests we have had.

Comment from Slow member Lance de Villiers:
Getting out over a weekend with one’s family is one of those privileges that takes on a higher meaning if one can do it in such a relaxing environment as the wine country. Especially if the youngsters can get involved at every level, from grape picking to stomping to munching. We had a thoroughly enjoyable time, with the mind since meandering through all sorts of ideas for future outings. Having learnt of the basic concepts through Charne, I personally would have appreciated a little more emphasis on the day at Joostenberg on the elements of Slow Food that we were to experience and expect there, from viticulture through to the basic elements and what makes Slow Food slow. For raw initiates like me, a reminder during the outing of those things that one experienced and their place in the “Slow Food Chain” would have added even more value, especially if a briefing by Tyrrell could have included how Joostenberg fitted into the concept. I mention this from an educational point of view for my own benefit. Overall though, one could see the value of the experience on the faces of the children and in the aftermath of quietly sleeping angels as soon as our wheels started rolling back towards Cape Town.



Unloading the grapes for stripping and pressing

Happy pickers                



Stomping the grapes

Happy pickers



Members gathered in front of the Manor House

Harvest brunch                         




The Slow Food movement is growing. Slow Food Cape Town would like to welcome our sister convivium, Slow Food Mother City, started late last year by two of our committee members, Kate Schrire and Pia Taylor. The geographic area for the new convivium is the same as our area: Greater Cape Town and the Western Province. Kate and Pia hope to attract students, and young members of the community to the new convivium. Members of the new convivium will be very welcome at our events, and they assure us that our members will be welcome to join in any of the Mother City events that might interest them.




The Johannesburg convivium has been in existence since 2001 and has around 70 members Go to the blogspot to see the activities. You could also attend their events as a member if you’re visiting Johannesburg:
The Garden Route convivium started last year in Knsyna, and you could contact John Huxter to find out about events there: or




A new cookery school, the Chefs Warehouse, is opening at 50 New Church Street in April. It will be run by Chef and owner, Liam Tomlin, who is planning an exciting programme of courses and demonstrations.
The first course, Basic Techniques and Methods of Cookery, will kick off on April 24. It will consist of twenty classes covering the essential principles of cooking, based on classic European traditions with an added Asian influence inspired by the fourteen years he spent in Asia and Australia.
Then, on 12 May, Tim Faull will be presenting a six-part course in Artisanal baking, entitled Knead to Know – a sensory journal to Artisan baking.
A twelve-part wine-tasting course, presented by Caroline Rillema, will begin on May 20.

In addition, there will be a series of demonstrations by celebrated local chefs, including:

Neil Jewel of Bread & Wine on 5 May

Bruce Robertson of Road Show Gourmet Excursions on 6h May

Peter Templehof of The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel on 11h May

Alexander Meuller of Pure on 24h May

The guest chef courses will consist of a three hour demonstration where participants will have the opportunity to sample three of the dishes that the chef will prepare and wine to complement the food.

For enquiries and bookings for courses and classes email or call +27 21 422 0128.



Koekemakranka: Kohoi-Khoin-Kultuurgoed and Kom-Kuier-Kos
Renata Coetzee en Volker Miros. LAPA Uitgewers.


Renata Coetzee recently received an honorary doctorate from the University of the North for her lifetime’s research into the eating cultures of the indigenous peoples of South Africa. In this book she has teamed up with photographer Volker Miros to examine the centuries-old culture of the Khoi by looking not only at their traditional foods, but other aspects of way of life: their clothing, dwellings music, with even a description of how their grass huts are made. She discusses the various plants used as food, many of which are now endangered, and describes how to plant a ‘veldkos’ garden.

She concludes with recipes using these traditional foods in a modern kitchen. Beautifully illustrated with a wealth of colour photographs, this is a valuable addition to our cultural literature. At present the book is available in Afrikaans only, but an English translation will be published later.





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