After 13 years The Slow Market Stellenbosch bids a fond farewell to Stellenbosch
The Master Chef venue at Nederburg Estate in Paarl is the new home for this Saturday morning institution.
The Slowmarket Stellenbosch has become a civic institution and favourite attraction for tourists and locals for the past 13 years. The original gourmet food market in Stellenbosch has influenced many small entrepreneurs’ lives. When the set-up crews leave at dawn on a Saturday morning, traders will joyfully pick up conversations left over from the week before and hurryingly set up their stalls, anticipation in the air for a busy day. Every Saturday morning, come rain or shine, the old slave bell announced the start of the market, and magically the Oude Libertas will come alive with patrons.
The Slow foodies will come early with their baskets and fill them with organic vegetables, artisan cheeses, local strawberries, and Colleen’s hand-reared chickens. They will leave quickly before the crowds arrive.
Then the breakfast crowd will pitch up and saunter through the stalls browsing, cappuccino in hand and stop at Fritz Schoon’s bakery for a croissant, unable to resist the warm temptation. Willem Viljoen’s famous charcuterie and Sam’s Stokkiesdraai biltong will welcome back hungry die-hards. The musicians will arrive and start tuning their instruments, happily accepting coffee from Roma, our angel market manager. The queues will start forming in front of Arnim’s German waffle stand and Elke will smilingly bag delicious cakes for delighted customers.
As the band starts playing the students and lunch seekers will arrive, grabbing an empty table as they pass and occupying it with coats and scarves to serve as place holders. The Oude Lib will start to hum with shoppers and foreign accents bargaining for souvenirs, families spreading picnics on the lawns and old friends gathering for a convivial glass of wine or bubbles.
We are incredibly sad to leave this happy scene behind, proud and grateful to have been able to stage a marketplace for Stellenbosch every Saturday for such a long time. We have hosted Christmas markets, strawberry affairs, art festivals and Japan day, every nuance of pink and gin day, green and juice day have been explored. We wish our fans and patrons well and hope they will forgive us the interruption to their Saturday morning ritual. We would like to thank Distell for the unbelievable tenure we enjoyed at the Oude Libertas, all good things must end, and the old lady has a new dress to put on.
We would like to thank each trader over the years, you have been the pulsing heart of the market, your cheerfulness, stamina and sheer guts has made the Slow Market the very special family it is today.
In many parts of the world a market is centre to the town’s business, we would love to continue a pop-up market in Stellenbosch in the centre of town on public space. Stellenbosch deserves a place of gathering for all her citizens to mix freely, may this wish come true someday.
For now, we are embarking on a new adventure at Nederburg wine estate in Paarl where the old masterschef shed will become our new home. We are gathering a beautiful array of street food cooks, artisans, florists, grocers, jewellers, slow food and locally made products. Join us, we will be open every Saturday and Sunday from 4 December, you will be dancing to live music while the kids are engaged in our new play area. Come and make new memories with us.