Wild Oats Community Farmers Market - Gardenroute
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Directions to Wild Oats Community Farmers Market
From humble beginnings, Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market is now recognized as a “not to be missed” destination by many tourists from all parts of the world as well as locals who shop regularly from over 65 vendors for all their food requirements. This market has it all, from fresh local and organic veg, free range chicken, lamb and meat, to all manner of dairy products, baked goods and bottled specialities, all carefully vetted for quality and good prices, and most importantly, all locally produced. Wild Oats is a significant landmark established on the outskirts of Sedgefield in the “Lakes District” of the Garden Route and opens every Saturday morning (from 7:30-12 noon, summer and 8–12 noon, winter).
Several years in the planning, Wild Oats was originally conceived in 1997 by Rose Brettell and Susan Garner, market organisers and owners. These two gals, better known as Suzy Wild and Rosie Oats, creatively shaped the design of the market, the logo, innovative advertising and a set of sure-fire sustainable policies which have proven unique among markets worldwide. Soon after clearing dense alien-invasive bush on the remarkable lakeside site with Rose’s tireless energy and Sue’s awesome chainsaw skills, the distinctive barn- shaped stall structures (cleverly designed from recycled hops-poles) arose. Finally on 31 July 1999, after a night of torrential winter rain, Wild Oats opened in brilliant sunshine to a large enthusiastic crowd of locals... and by 10.30am every last morsel of fresh produce and farm-style breakfasts sold out! Wild Oats was well on its sustainable way and the tiny village of Sedgefield had the beginnings of landmark status. To date (535 markets later as at mid November 2009!) only one single market has been missed due to the floods of November 2007.
What this initiative has achieved is the blending of people from diverse backgrounds, uniting urban and rural in a mix where important educational experiences about local food sources, nutrition, environmental awareness and agricultural issues all blend into an unusual festive spirit of community. These two hard-working ladies believe that really authentic country markets offer a healthy community-building opportunity that stands in sharp contrast to the dominating “corporate shopping experiences” that disengage shoppers from their local context, from seasonal produce and from the producers themselves. Wild Oats offers instead a fresh-air opportunity to seek out the magic of local producers and their stunning variety of seasonal products, freshly harvested, packed, bottled or baked. A positive sense of a community-connected is tangible in this gathering of family, friends and visitors, which in-turn cultivates inspiration and imagination in both the shopping and cooking experiences.
As a founding member of the Sedgefield Island Conservancy, Wild Oats’ vision is now firmly focused on becoming the first “zero waste market “in South Africa as well as increasing responsible environmental awareness through educating customers how they can minimise their carbon footprints… beginning by simply choosing from a wide variety of locally produced goods.
You gotta come experience this yourself… and while you’re at Wild Oats treat yourself to a wide variety of hot-off-the-coals breakfasts and sit down to enjoy good old people-watching and relish the authentic bounty of the Garden Route’s finest.
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