Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Riversands Farm Market

As I look back over my two years of blog posts I'm surprised that I haven't written more about markets. Joburg is full of markets.  There are day markets, night markets, organic markets, flea markets, holiday markets, craft markets and more. I try not to compare South Africa to America but I am going to take a stand and announce that America needs more markets and when I say markets I mean markets in the South African sense of the word which I'll explain shortly. 
Interesting statue at the Riversands Farm Market
Meanwhile I haven't forgotten about the adventure series that I launched back in December. The purpose was to encourage me to explore my surroundings with a goal of writing 20 blog posts about adventures in and around Joburg. And so here it is the official post number two of 20 in the adventure series....The Riversands Farm Market. 

Back in the 1940's Riversands was a free range chicken farm in Fourways. This is back before free range was a thing and before Fourways was built up to be the the commercial, residential and traffic clogged area we know today. William Nicol Drive, now a main four lane road, was still a dirt road back then. According to the market website a woman named Granny LeMay made chicken pies and sold them on William Nicol Drive. Side note, when South African's talk about pie they mean something savory, not sweet. Something sweet that we might consider a pie would be called a tart. Anyway, Riversands Farm is no longer operational on the site where the market is held but it the market definitely has a farm feel. 
Old farm buildings still remain.

I love this homemade checkerboard. It was lying near the market area and I think some caretakers made it and use it.

Riversands only has a few vendors selling crafts, cheese and clothing. I also think there was one produce stand, but as I've learned in South Africa you don't need many vendors to make a market and you don't need produce for sale to make a farm market. In South Africa markets are all about vibe and creating a space where people will want to come and stay for a while. Each market has it's own vibe. The Riversands Farm Markets vibe is relaxed as there is lots of open space so it's not crowded. 
Live music

Riversands market also offers lots of food stalls, pony rides, live music, zip lining, a beer garden and supposedly a small little petting zoo (which we didn't bother to visit.) Many people bring their kids and dogs as there is lots of room to run. 

Mr. Deep with some rhino sculptures. We could tell these were black rhinos as we are now quasi-experts in the intricacies of African big game.

So what do I mean by a market in the South African sense of the word? First, a market is a place to hang out for a few hours or even the whole day.  Going to the market is not an errand one runs to pick up fresh fruit, It is a plan to spend to time with friends or family. 

Many times you can even book (reserve a table) and then spend hours sitting there at the table and no one bothers you or pushes you to order food if you just want to hang out. 

As South Africa is full of many cultures and tastes there is always a wide range of food available for purchase to eat on sight at the markets. Also, there is often booze for sale. Not just beer in a plastic cup although you can certainly get that. Many times these markets sell bottles of wine, champagne and even cocktails. 
Lots of space at the Riversands Farm Market

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Hello and thank you for taking an interest in my blog. This blog tells the story of some big life changes. First, my husband and I have just moved to Geneva, Switzerland for a few months following a few years of living in Johannesburg, South Africa. The two places could not be more different. I'm excited to share our adventures, challenges and insights with you! My thoughts and opinions are my own.