Like flowers blooming around the village, the return of the Stanford Sunset Market marks the end of the winter months, an awakening from a sleepy hibernation and the first big official ‘social’ on the calendar. As we head towards the warmer weather and the start of tourism season, we caught up with the market’s organizer, Philippa Murray, to find out more about this eleven-year-old event:
What can people expect when they come to the monthly SSM?
The monthly sunset market is quite unusual in the Overstrand region in that it is an open-air dinner and food market hosted on the heritage market square of Stanford. The square or “green” has traditionally always been a place of gathering and the market honours that – free parking, easy access, a family-friendly market where food providers, growers, deli-specialists, food trucks, local wineries and craft breweries are all showcased.
It’s great for the village to have an event on the last Friday of the month, not only is it payday weekend, but it’s also a lovely way for tourists and visitors from around the Cape to experience the village, the produce of the area and be entertained by a local musician at the same time.
What kind of artisans and vendors can visitors look forward to?
The Stanford Wine Route is well represented – and their stands make up the literal centre of the market. Usually, at least eight of the ten Stanford wine farms are showcased. On top of that, there is locally made German sausages, loaves of bread baked right in nearby Baardskeerdersbos, pickles and produce from Gansbaai, biltong, organic eggs, soft white cheeses and food trucks from no further away than Bot Rivier. We also have a Shis’nyama selling braaied pork chops and chicken. There’s even an artisan Belgian chocolatier! Locally made samosas and curry from ladies in the local community are also a hit. Being family-friendly there are also kid-friendly selections.
The team from RAKA ready for the evening. Image: Stanford Sunset Market
How is the market a great representation of Stanford?
The market represents the growing food & artisanal beverage ethos of the region. Stanford has a long-established microbrewery and wine route now coming into its own, and the market showcases the best of Stanford all in one place.
Padstal produce. Image: Stanford Sunset Market
A great quote doing the rounds online is: "We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” (Ann Marie Bonneau) Can you tell us a bit more about the market’s eco/green ethos?
Because of Stanford’s unique positioning along the Klein Rivier, and with a local lei water system that flows from around the historical parts of the village out into the river and in turn the estuary, Stanfordians tend to be very aware of litter or rubbish and the effects it can have on the local ecosystem. As such vendors are encouraged to provide sustainable packaging options for their foods. Single-use plastics or polystyrene aren’t used, and patrons have the option of hiring crockery or cutlery for the evening to cut back on packaging needs. You could also take a feather out of the hat of the locals and bring along a container from home – a great way to stock up on some goodies to enjoy the next day when leftovers become brunch!
Image: Stanford Sunset Market
What’s next for the Stanford Sunset Market, what would you like to grow/introduce?
Looking ahead we’d like to grow the vendors from the Community from Stanford South. Stands are currently offered at a special rate and we employ some of the logistical team for setting up and so on from the village but it’s an area where we’d like to make further inroads. We really want the market to be as all-inclusive as possible in its representation of Stanford.
We’d also like to expand our vendor offering – picnic wares and other food items people can enjoy not only that evening, but for the whole weekend. We’d also like to encourage more of the fresh produce vendors to attend. Low carbon footprint, low carbon miles – it all makes a difference and compliments our green ethos.
What is your favourite thing about Stanford? What’s a hidden gem of Stanford you want people to know about?
The big secret about Stanford is that it really is in a time warp. The bypassing of Stanford's village centre with the introduction of the R43 has helped to preserve Stanford’s heritage and history. Not only can you still see the beautiful heritage buildings, and the heritage square, there are loads of old-fashioned activities people can do for free – paddle or swim in the river, ride your bike around the village, go on fantastic walks, follow the leivoor to the old Mill Stream. It really is a time capsule!
Thank you, Philippa! Catch the first Stanford Sunset Market of the season on 27 September 2019, 6-8pm and every last Friday of the month throughout Spring, Summer and Autumn. Diarise their special Christmas market on 20 December and share your market magic moments with us using #visitstanford
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