The global phenomenon of Lockdown reached us in the Swartland too. We are however super fortunate to live on a farm where ‘not leaving your property’ and keeping our staff safe at home means we have more than enough to keep busy.
The South African Government has put a halt to all liquor sales (insert debate here) which also means we have been taking a closer look at the other things we juggle on the property.
As you can see on our Sidelines page on this website, we do not only produce wine… pretty sure that if you are a fan of the wines you know about Caperitif, probably Swaan Tonic too and likely The 4th Rabbit… but taking heed from our president, lets put a cork in that and look at the other little projects and produce.
About five years ago Adi started looking for a local producer of capers and well, found none. So in true Adi style he decided to do something about it himself. Up on the east facing slopes of the Paardeberg, where no vineyards grew and some invasive trees had recently been eradicated, we planted Capparis spinosa in between the rows of local trees that we had established.
Year on year the plants have produced more and more berries, this year our crop is standing at 900kgs – and the bushes are still flowering.
The work is labour intensive ( and on a good day one person harvests about 900grams) and the process intense (especially as it is go season over Christmas and New Year) but it provides a few local ladies with steady work and income.
The internet is all the rage with sourdough starters at the moment as people, locked inside their houses and avoiding the shops, are trying to bake their own bread.
Charl has been ahead of the trend for a while – but bread baking has a starter on the farm years before he joined the team. First Xoliswa then Molla baked fresh farm white bread for the cellar crew during harvest time (everyone fighting for the crust) and a few years later we started baking those breads to put in the cottage so that a fresh bread smell would welcome guests checking in.
When Charl (the younger Badenhorst brother) and his wife moved to the mountain they brought to the team a new set of skills and passions. So Charl cooks (with his mother’s guidance and recipes) for lunches and small events on the farm and during the winter of 2019 him and his team got schooled in sourdough.
(Spot the capers!)
With many chickens come many eggs. Used mostly on the farm – again for feeding hungry crew (and kids), stocking the cottages and as an ingredient in Judy’s recipes. Hannes (that’s Cornelia’s brother who joined the team about two years ago as a general Mr Fix-It, but more on the family-team in another post) started keeping track of the hens’ laying track record, showed up with big trays and started selling them off.
In an attempt to establish a Caperitif garden, to grow as many of the 45 ingredients here on the property, we planted some Rooibos in September last year. A few weeks ago we harvested 500kgs from the 0.5ha plantation. Read more about it on the Caperitif blog (click click).
And then lastly, for now, Swaan, our Cape Dry Tonic Water. We started making this one shortly after the Caperitif project took off, as craft tonic was still scarce back then. See, can’t find what you are looking for, make it…
Like a binge dieter Swaan has had many shapes and sizes but now comes in very cute 200ml bottles, with cans coming soon.
It simple: Persian limes, kai appels; cardamom; mint; water from Voor-Paardeberg; citric acid and quinine. Net so.
So yes, we keep busy. You can listen to Adi chatting about some of this and more on a recent podcast on Ex Amino Wine Company’s Sound Cloud (click here) and keep an eye on our Instagram or Facebook Page to see what we’re keeping busy with in isolation.
Stay well, stay safe.