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That sure is a beautiful view

That sure is a beautiful view

signSOUTH AFRICA: MOOIBERGE FARM STALL

Mooiberge means “pretty mountains” and the view out here certainly is that, as it’s right below the Helderberg Mountains.

On the R44 road between Somerset West and Stellenbosch, this landmark farm stall is hard to miss, as much of the property is “fenced” with a line of colorful art creatures/’sculptures’ (can we call them sculptures?).

It started off as a regular farm stall and

Outside entrance to the kids' play area

Outside entrance to the kids’ play area

blossomed/mushroomed out into what we see today—a colorful, sprawling complex. It’s a great place to take kids in the strawberry season (November-January or February), as the strawberry picking is very popular, there’s a wonderful play area called the Thirsty Scarecrow, and a vast array of colorful ‘scarecrows’ and other creatures and transportation creations delight the eye.

Some might say it’s a kitschy produce market-cum-wine shop-cum-market for bottled goods (jams, sauces, olive oils for example), cakes, nuts, biltong, local crafts etc. But, it’s undoubtedly a lot of fun. We bought a bottle of wine for R25—one of their advertised specials. They seem to have many of the specials for various airlines.

Tasty bottled Cape gooseberries

Tasty bottled Cape gooseberries

restarantsignIn March it was too late for strawberry picking, but we ate there one lunch time by default, and it was great. The restaurant is called The Farmers Kitchen. It has a fun atmosphere because of the setting and the colorful statues and very good food—a tasty meal, with very generous servings, of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. The deck where we sat looks out over the kids play area and across the pepper/strawberry fields to the mountains, the whole view enlivened by the bright, quirky, animals (mostly) sculptures—which in general you’d say don’t fit into this (wine) environment, and yet they’ve become a local fixture and a tourist feature and attraction.

Some of the more "respectable" animals!

Some of the more “respectable” animals!

Granny Peggy, Viv, Caroline, Anthea enjoy the wine

Granny Peggy, Viv, Caroline, Anthea enjoy the wine

Five of us shared a carafe of Du Toitskloof sauvignon blanc. One of our party had a huge lamb burger with Greek-style cucumber-yoghurt sauce, and salad; one had chicken wrap; another had a bacon, brie and walnut pizza, served with salad; and two of us had parma ham and fresh fig salad; followed by 2 espressos and a coffee. Total (without tip) was R452. At the exchange rate at the time that’s about US$43, which is amazingly good value!

The Farmer’s Kitchen re-opened in September 2011 after new owner Kelly Zetler revamped it, to “French colonial meets rustic countryside comfort”. Its hours are 8:30am-5pm, and they specialize in breakfast, snack meals and lunch, with many dishes featuring strawberries in season.

Also in the Mooiberge complex is the Thirsty Scarecrow Bistro-Pub, open Mon-Sun 11am-11:30pm.

Mooiberge the Farm Stall is open Mon-Sun 8:30am-6pm

Ham and fresh fig salad

Ham and fresh fig salad

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