The iconic Down to Earth Farm Feast Duck guided us down a terracotta-coloured dust road. The car smelt like a holiday – sunscreen was being applied enthusiastically, and that comforting scent of a new panama wafted past as it was plopped on a head in anticipation of our arrival. It was a gloriously warm Spring afternoon and the perfect day to spend a Sunday outside with a good group of friends.
Dany and Danielle greeted us with delicous-looking welcome cocktails and we then took a wander around the farm, before finding a spot at the long table that had been set up beneath a row of trees looking out onto the farm. We were soon invited to fill our glasses with some splendid South African wines, or a selection of local craft beer, and to tuck into the bite-sized starters that were making the rounds.
The quaint kitchen truck really sets the scene as you see the cooking staff in action chopping up fresh green herbs, daintily arranging the edible flowers on the appetiser boards, or laying out the earthenware for the next round of plating. It was amazing to see so much food coming out of such a small kitchen, but it works perfectly and everyone was so focussed on what they were doing. The care and thought put into crafting the food was evident in each course and judging from the light-hearted atmosphere in the truck they manage to strike the balance between focus and joy in the process of creating the meals.
This particular pop-up farm feast took place at Dewcrisp – a salad greens farm on the outskirts of Gauteng that utilises a gravel-based hydroponic farming system to grow their herbs, lettuce and vegetables. We were introduced to the farmer who gave us some background to the farm and its sustainable farming practices and we got given an enormous box of fresh farm produce to take home at the end of the day. Part of Down to Earth Farm Feasts’ vision is to connect their guests with the produce and community of farmers that are all part of the farm-to-table cycle. Getting to meet the people behind the food and then seeing the produce showcased in the meal that day really does give one insight into the process. It certainly made us all want to seek out produce that has a similar story behind it and it prompted a great deal of conversation at the table about our food sources, what we choose to eat and how best to live it out in our daily lives.
We chatted, laughed and tucked into creamy soups, decadently topped flatbreads, buttery, flaky mushroom or venison pies, heart roasted vegetables, exotic salads, so much so that we barely had space for the dessert. So much of the pleasure of this experience is that there is no rush – we sat for ages talking to new friends, drinking even more good wine, and eventually found a gap for the sweet delights that were coming around in little bowls.
The whole experience felt so fluid. The setting was laid back but educational, the staff were jolly and well-informed, and the food was completely delicious.We look forward to seeing where else these talented ladies set up and with whom they collaborate next. We drove home feeling like we had been away for the weekend on a friend’s beautiful family farm.
Once again, we were inspired by a group of people that have the intention to create meaningful experiences, and who reminded us of the importance of connection – with people, with our surroundings and with the produce we consume everyday.
For more photos from the farm feast and additional information on the Down to Earth events read and see here.