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A Fruitful Visit

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Lively and vibey, The Litchi Orchard’s morning and night markets near Durban are reinvigorating the local community

WHAT? Expect farm-fresh produce, local crafts, live music and family fun in an old litchi orchard only 30 minutes from Durban. The Eb family held its first morning market five years ago and today, apart from dozens of stalls, visitors can browse the on-site Driefontein Garden Centre, Lemon Canary Cake Bakery & Design, Beanstruk Boutique Coffee Roastery, and the laid-back Monkey Country Pub.

The pub comes alive at a monthly Night Market where the focus is food and live music. The Morning Market is the second Saturday of each month, 9am to 2pm; the Night Market, the last Friday, 5pm to 10pm (entry R20).

WHO? Farmers and local residents, many of them Joburgers spending weekends at their North Coast holiday homes, frequent the market. Durbanites make it a morning outing, and holiday-makers drift in from surrounding hotels, the country attractions a welcome contrast to the beaches, especially when the wind blows.

WHAT TO EXPECT? It’s divided into two sections – the food market and the art market. Expect tasty seasonal dishes, pestos and ice cream, and Arabica coffee. A focus is local food that is sustainably produced. Quality arts and crafts are also on offer, from jewellery, fashion and furniture to antiques, carvings, pottery, paintings, photographs and fabulous flowers. Make sure to watch for the resident mongooses in the orchard!

DON'T LEAVE WITHOUT... sampling the Krisp stall’s prawn and pistachio rissoles or Hannes Poppmeier’s Deli News home-made pies, and grabbing a bag of Martin van der Merwe’s doughnuts and baguettes; a box of seasonal organic vegetables from Home Grown; a bottle of rose and raspberry or pomegranate Persian-influenced cordial from Kuhestan, made from traditional recipes with organic produce; handcrafted leather leaf earrings or a feather pendant from mother and daughter team Adre and Danielle de Lange of Soho Boho; cheeky lace shorts by Style Design College grad Keryn Hodgkinson of Indigo Clothing; proteas from Cindy Rynhoud of Love Laugh; and in December and January, juicy litchis, which are picked, sorted and packed on the farm.

X-FACTOR... The farm setting, where families spread blankets under the litchi trees or on the lawn in front of a new stage, vibing to local music and picnicking on local fare.   The Litchi Orchard, Seaforth Ave, just off the N2 at Salt Rock, KwaZulu-Natal, 032-525-5118, litchiorchard.co.za

This article originally featured in the March 2015 issue of House and Leisure magazine. 

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