eating & shopping organic in cape town

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2009-10-05 20:28

This is an updated version of our 2007 green guide.

If you’re one of many in Cape Town who recognise the value of buying organic and thus supporting sustainable, environment friendly farming then this is the guide for you.

In the UK stats released in March 2009 show that despite GDP falling by 1.9%, unemployment increasing by 1.3% and retail sales dropping by 1.8%, sales of organic food has continued to increase by 1.7%. In other words, the organic market is alive and well, and resiliant. [soil association]

In Sweden, the sale of organic food reached a record high in 2008 and now accounts for 3.4% of total sales. [swedishwire]

And US sales of organic food and nonfood products grew 17.1% over 2007 sales, despite tough economic times. [environmentalleader]

There are no statistics available for SA on organic sales. Infact we don't even have a national body that regulates the industry...

However, the demand in South Africa outstrips supply – there are not enough farmers and producers in the country, yet. Hence developments like the Organic Freedom Project and predictions that the organic market will continue to grow substantially over the next couple of years in South Africa. [urban sprout]

In statistics from IFOAM, the countries with the highest numbers of organic producers are Uganda, India and Ethiopia. Almost half of the world's organic producers are in Africa, where organic farming is increasing, especially in the southern countries. [IFOAM]

The African market for organic products is, however, small, with the exceptions of Egypt and South Africa. Yet South Africa lags way behind Uganda that farms 122 000 hectares of land by comparison with our paltry 45 000 hectares. [SOEL & FiBL survey 2007]

There is a lot going on in Cape Town – one just needs to know about the emerging organic market...

Where to shop organic
Since 2007 the number of shops that stock organic produce and products has vastly improved. There are numerous independent stores, some of them also health shops, that you can support. Organic Living in Constantia Village and kwaLapa at the Montebello Design Estate in Newlands, and Quensch in Obz are all worth a visit and stock a wide range of fresh and nonfood products. Wild Trading Store in Woodstock has a Saturday morning market, where you can buy your fresh goods, breads etc. and a lunch spot on a Friday, Creeds in Tokai, Organics Alive in Palmer Street, Muizenberg, the Health Connection, which is steadily adding to its range of organic wholefoods, in Tokai, and Josephine Mill Shop, which supplies its own stoneground flour and other organic and local products.

For a complete list of where to buy organic in the Western Cape.

Eating organic is also very closely tied with buying local food. There are some wonderful local organic box delivery schemes starting with the ethical co-op, which provides an awesome online ordering service. Their range continues to grow, and the ethical blog gives you the low down on what organic goodies are good to buy when.

Other box delivery schemes in Cape Town include Ganics, which operates from Quensh premises in Obz, Christiana’s whole food, Wild Trading Store in Woodstock, who also stock a fair-trade coffee roasted in Nieu Bethesda, heavenly breads and numerous organic products. Harvest of Hope gives you a wonderful variety of vegetables grown in the townships, Organic Zone in Muizenberg now offer two box sizes and, although they don’t deliver, there are two pick-up points at the Waldorf school in Constantia and the Olive Station in Muizenberg, and the Zetler Pharmacy in Mill Street, also does a box scheme – you can collect your box, filled with goodies from farmers in Robertson.

Our regularly updated list of organic box schemes.

Where to eat organic
There are very few restaurants calling themselves organic. It is still a tricky promise to make – to be completely organic – as suppliers are like hens’ teeth and supply is inconsistent. But Sage Organic Cafe, in Gardens, uses organic wherever possible and menu orders are SLOW FOOD made with love! kwaLapa at the Montebello Design Estate tells the stories of food with a menu to match, Bird’s Boutique Café in Bree Street is a trendy eatery that sells organic and baked-by-hand goodies, and also has an organic box delivery scheme. They’ll do catering too, if you’re prepared to entertain a wacky handwritten quote. Millstone Farmstall and Café is part of the Oude Molen Eco Village in Pinelands and is well worth supporting – it's child friendly and offers organic vegetables and seasonal food homegrown in the gardens.

La Cuccina in Hout Bay use organic ingredients wherever possible, the Picnic Basket in Fish Hoek sells organic vegetables and fruit and uses these in their menu, Green Beans Café in Westlake makes a to-die-for wheat-free carrot cake with organic carrot and spelt flour, and Figaro's at Spier is part of the Go organic at Spier venture.

Other great restaurants include: Ashtons @ Greenways in Upper Claremont, where we had a heavenly breakfast and walked around their vege garden,The Greenhouse, at Cellars-Hohenort Hotel in Constantia, and The Quaffery in Wynberg, which purports to serve 100% organic coffee!

There are now many regular markets worth visiting in Cape Town – the staples that have been around the block and proved themselves, like the Rondebosch organic Market and the Neighbourgoods Market – both on a Saturday morning. The Neighbourgoods Market is an experience of its own and is a great source of organic and locally produced foods. The Porter Estate Produce Market, is on every Saturday morning at the Chrysalis Academy behind Tokai forest picnic area, sells as much organic and local produce as they can get their hands on, and is a feast of food and wonderfully child-friendly; the Slow Food Stellenbosch Fresh Goods market, with its counterpart at Willowbridge, the Stellenbosch Organic Farmers' market, the weekly Mielie food market, the Timour Hall Road Organic market in Plumstead, and Camphill Village market, held monthly, and the Franschhoek Farmers' Market a little further afield.

There are also newer markets that are muscling into the same space and proving themselves more than capable: the Triangle Market in Fish Hoek, and its counterpart at De Waterkant, the Earth Fair Market, on a Saturday and Wednesday evening in Tokai near Builders Warehouse, and the Natural Goods Market at Century City. Imhoff farm has a market on the first Saturday of every month, and you can buy organic vegetables and fruit from them on a daily basis.

Last, but not least in your quest for organic fare, is the online site - Faithful to Nature – which will deliver organic goodies direct to your door.

We're aware that this guide could quickly fall out of date. Refer to the following for up-to-the-minute suppliers of:

organic box delivery schemes
organic shops
restaurants, delis and eating out

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