Early evidence of markets can be found in ancient Greece, where traders held stalls in designated areas to sell their goods and exchange services. Over time, the marketplace evolved into shopping malls with unnaturally lit spaces, talking screens, staff announcements and escalators. (Heaven forbid you should have to climb stairs!)
But if, like us, you prefer open spaces to stretch your legs, fresh produce and good ol’ farmer hospitality, traditional markets are where it’s at. They’re also one of the most accessible ways to get your hands on the best produce around, from proper bread from stone-milled nutty flour baked in a wood-fired oven to artisan goat’s cheese, craft beers, fancy cured sausages and delicacies inspired by recipes from all over the world. Here are 22 of our favourites.
Bamboo Farmers’ Market
Visitors to this market, situated on the rooftop of the Bamboo Lifestyle Centre, can do grocery shopping and explore the gallery openings that coincide with the market.
Bryanston Organic Market
This market offers fresh, seasonal and local produce like locally roasted coffee, naturally fermented breads, sauces and preserves. Enjoy leisurely shopping in a peaceful and scenic outdoor environment.
Jozi Food Market
There’s a charming country feel to this outdoor market, with rolling fields in the background and picnic tables laid out. Turn up early and enjoy a lovely alfresco breakfast.
Market on Main
The inner-city lifestyle of Joburg is encouraged here. Spend time exploring the food and design items from fanatical stallholders. Ethiopian coffee, organic veggies, scrumptious cup cakes are some of the delights that await.
The fashionable place to be on a Saturday morning. Pick up speciality goods like clothing and jewellery as well as an array of exotic food items, farm-fresh goodies, including seasonal fruit and veggies, and craft beers.
Rosebank Rooftop Market
Gather deli items for a picnic and take-home foods. The huge market sports around 600 stalls offering edibles as well as clothing, arts and crafts, carvings and jewellery.
Hazel Food Market
After five years in the market industry, the Hazel Food Market is still offering some of Pretoria’s best fresh produce, tarts, sweets, breads and ready-to-eat meals. There are benches scattered all over where you can relax with a cappuccino while the kids play on the jungle gym and jumping castle.
Irene Village Market
Sit in the fully licensed tea garden and enjoy a sunny Pretoria day with a safe kids’ entertainment and numerous food stalls with items like Karoo lamb, artisan breads and organic cheeses. Over 250 stalls exhibit wares ranging from arts and crafts to clothing, delicacies, antiques, flowers and curios.
It doesn’t get any fresher than this. Get fruit, veggies and meat straight from the farmers at this market. Artisan producers also have their produce on offer.
The whole family will treated to a play area for the kids while the adults enjoy fresh produce, food stalls offering delicious eats like cakes, biltong and droëwors, pork pies, free-range egg and sweet desserts.
The Food Market
The end of the month outing all KZN foodies look forward to, The Food Market has won the Eat In Produce Award for best market in the Eastern region three times. Exclusively stocking food and produce from the province, this has become a hot spot for shopping local. Pick up goodies like baked goods and ready-made meals.
Shongweni Farmers’ Market
With country charm and diverse products that range from a large variety of organic foods to fresh produce and more, Shongweni attracts crowds from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.
Bay Harbour Market
This market is an all-weekend affair and you might just need two days to take in all 100-plus food, craft and fashion stalls. Live music and draught beers on tap guarantee a good time. A market requirement is that stallholders use biodegradable compostable cutlery and containers, and all market waste is recycled. Food stall include goods like delicious breakfasts, oysters and sugar-free items.
Cape Point Vineyards Noordhoek Community Market
This market takes place every Thursday evening on the estate, in a stunning setting near the vineyard’s dam. Enjoy top quality food and drink along with the magnificent views. There are children’s play areas to keep the young one’s busy and plenty of parking space is available
City Bowl Market on Hope
Experience city life in a different way. The City Bowl Market caters to the whole family with a kids’ zone, beer on offer and delicious quality foods.
Earth fair Food Market (Tokai and St George’s Mall)
Socialise, leave the kids in the play area and get your week’s shopping done at a reasonable price. Some of Cape Town’s best produce is sold here.
If you’re feeling hip one Saturday morning and in the mood for gourmet foods, fresh delicacies and craft beer, The Old Biscuit Mill is the place to be. If you’re not too keen on seeing and being seen, arrive early to get your goods – and parking – before the trendy crowds descend.
Oranjezicht City Farm Market
The Oranjezicht City Farm is a non-profit project celebrating local food, culture and community through urban farming. Goods on offer include fruit, bread, organic dairy, free-range eggs, honey and muesli.
Porter Estate Produce Market
Start off with a farm-style breakfast and get the kids involved in the various activities before you shop for fresh goods like cheeses, pickles, chutneys and the like.
Blaauwklippen Family Market
At the beautiful farm market-goers can experience a range of stalls selling fresh produce, homemade products, crafts and plants. There’s also live music, delicious food stalls and, of course, Blaauwklippen wines to enjoy.
The Market Place at Hathersage Farm
On the second last Sunday of every month find inspiration for your own party menu by sampling food from the offering at this oak-lined marketplace. Indulge in home bakes, oysters, goats’ and cows’ milk cheeses and olives.
Artisanal produce is the main attraction here. Foodies come together to celebrate the good life. Get the best of breads, micro-brewed beer, organic vegetables, charcuterie and sweets.
Nominate your favourite market for the 2014 Eat Out Zonnebloem Produce Awards here. (Nominations close on 12 March 2014.)