One of my favourite parts about flying into George airport is as the plane clears the magnificent Outeniqua mountain range you are met with views of lush green fields stretching in all directions. This ever growing city on the Garden Route has such a wonderful sense of community that you instantly feel as though you have arrived home.
A great reason to visit here is that George is rocking the farm fresh vibe by encouraging locals and visitors alike to experience local produce right from the farmer and farm. Whether it’s a tour along the Outeniqua Hop Route or sitting at the Saturday morning market sipping coffee with wood chips underfoot, you’ll shake off the city blues quickly. There are a few things that this Garden Route destination gets right and here are 11 farm fresh reasons why George rocks.
Farm Fresh Direct
An online service where you order your box of farm fresh goodies and it gets delivered right to your door. Basically, they are connecting the local small and medium farmers with consumers to support the local economy. If you ever happened to have the opportunity of receiving one of these boxes, you’ll realise it’s like Christmas for foodies.
Outeniqua Farmer’s Market
All across SA farmer’s markets are the craze and most of the country spends their Saturday mornings wandering from stall to stall munching on homemade treats or sipping steaming cups of organic something. The Outeniqua Farmer’s Market is no different with over 125 different food and craft stalls that have the beautiful Outeniqua mountain range as a backdrop. The perfect place to get your farm fresh fix.
— Bianca Zella de Beer (@BiZella) December 21, 2013
At the Timberlake Farm Stall and Organic food centre just outside Wilderness there is a great little restaurant that has a menu completely inspired by organic local farm fresh produce. Try their stinging nettle pesto chicken salad or a craft beer platter set in a quaint peaceful garden.
A little closer to Knysna than George, this purely vegetarian restaurant, which is set in the owner’s house is a great example of local foraging brought right to the table. The chef only sources locally grown organic veggies and produces mouth-watering dishes that will have you considering vegetarianism.Michael Howe-Ely, Knysna via Flickr CC BY 2.0
This commercial strawberry farm is just outside George past the airport and is a great place to spend the day with your family. Aside from all the other activities on offer, like a tea garden and hedge maze, it’s the strawberry picking that most people come here for. It’s also a good way to educate your kids about farming and where their food comes from.
Hops Valley Farm Stall
On the road from George to Oudtshoorn, this classic country farm stall is stocked with locally made chutneys, jams and pickled vegetables. Every South African knows a road trip isn’t complete without a stop at a quirky little roadside farm stall. This one also happens to serve delicious pizza so you can order and browse the shop while you wait. Pizza and home-made lemonade or ginger beer for lunch; yes please.
Silver Lily Cheese Farm
No farm fresh extravaganza is complete without the opportunity to taste cheese. This farm, found on the outskirts of George, offers a range of 10 different handmade Dutch style farm cheese. You can taste each one (guaranteed you’ll buy a whole lot) and even go on a small tour where they show you how the cheese is made. Even better, you can sit and eat delicious cheese platters while sipping on a glass of wine gazing towards the mountains in the distance.
Outeniqua Hop Route
This route from Herold’s Bay to Outdshoorn takes you on a winding tour through what is also known as the land of milk and honey. Weaving your way through lush farm lands and picturesque mountain passes, this is the best way to experience all the activities and farm fresh stops along the way.Jon Mountjoy, Outeniqua via Flickr CC BY 2.0
Over the Mountain Guest Farm
With George being the premier hop growing region in South Africa, no farm fresh experience would be complete without visiting a hop farm and having the opportunity to wander through the hop fields under the full moon on a warm summer’s evening. This hop farm also offers accommodation and their guests the opportunity to learn about this very interesting method of farming. Hops being one of the main ingredients in beer, you’ll certainly feel as though you’ve earned your cold one after walking around all evening.
— JoziFoodieFix (@JoziFoodieFix) March 5, 2014
This is South Africa and no farm inspired activity list would be complete without a vineyard to top things off. With their vineyards gracing the sunlit lower slopes of Cradock Peak, this wine farm is true to the area in which it is found as it is completely surrounded by nature reserves and fynbos. The wine tasting is held amongst the wine barrels in the cellar and the owners will often join guests around the fire in the evening to discuss all things wine and food. Definitely one of the most laid-back wineries you’ll ever visit, which is of course how things are done on the Garden Route.Flights to George
So if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with your city life, why not plan a long weekend to George, hop on a flight and spend a few days immersing yourself in farm fresh goodness. What do you think is the best way to enjoy a farm experience?