With the proliferation of markets in KZN of late, people are getting a bit of the copy-and-paste stall fatigue that comes with seeing the same thing repeatedly at every venue. So when I went to the Midlands to check out a local market I was expecting to see more of the same. I was very pleasantly surprised.
On the first Sunday of every month, a small but remarkable collection of stalls pop up at the Lion’s River Club. Therein lies a bounty of vegetables just harvested from allotments, still covered in some mud and notable for their unbelievable size. Marrows (zucchini) the length and breadth of my cat, and astoundingly heavier, pumpkins large enough to sit on, garlic bulbs with cloves that covered my palm. I don’t know what these country folk do to their veg but they are huge and flavourful. If talking to plants and crops helps them grow, I suspect these veggies get their own talk show. And the prices are incredibly reasonable.
In amongst the abundance of fresh produce, there’s also baked breads, seeds and prepared meals. You can get coffee and a breakfast fry-up. I bought a loaf of bread from a man just to try out. I think it was an onion and cheese flavoured one. It was quite heavy so I expected it to be a bit stodgy, but instead it was savoury, rich with an umami-like flavour combination and soft. I decimated the entire loaf myself in two days. I crave more. I neeeed more.
The loot I came home with was gigantic garlic, still powdered with earth, duck eggs, my treasured loaf that I didn’t share, my pet courgette, a packet of fresh figs and some preserves. And it was a feast for over a week for the princely sum of less than R100.
The market is on the first Sunday of every month, from 9am – 11am at the Lions River Club in Dargle. If you are in the area, definitely pop in.