A farm stall, or padstal, is such an integral part of our South African culture. You find these carefully curated stores, filled with locally-made treats and treasures, along almost any road trip route in the country … and now we have one of our very own, here on the North Coast.
It’s not located alongside a dusty main road. Instead, it’s tucked away amidst a beautiful litchi orchard in Salt Rock. But the Orchard Store feels just as much like a typical ‘padstal’ as any other we’ve visited. And, as is the case with most of them, this little store has it’s own, unique story, too.
It’s been a dream for many years of sisters-in-law Kerry Ebb and Amy Hedges to create their own retail space. A place to sell their fresh food forages and culinary masterpieces and showcase an assemblage of wonderful, local, artisanal wares and fresh farm produce. And now they have.
Mother of two Kerry, who is well-known for her popular bakery Lemon Canary, which she closed after becoming a mom, is also a passionate gardener and grower. She is happiest with her hands in the dirt and supplies most of the fresh produce, flowers and farm products for the shop. The Litchi Orchard, where the Orchard Store is located, is owned by the Ebb family and she and her family live on their nearby macadamia nut tree and citrus farm.
Amy, a trained chef, has worked in top boutique hotels and spent a number of years running kitchens and working in management in high-end game lodges, including Phinda and Mala Mala. She is married to Kerry’s brother, Bruce.
Together, these two women have created this wonderfully quaint space, filled with all-things-local-and-seasonal, beautiful trinkets and treasures and oozing old-world charm.
Both highly skilled in the kitchen, one of the most exciting additions to the Orchard Store will be the introduction of their cooking and gardening workshops. “We are so looking forward to being able to offer farm-to-table workshops for both adults and children,” says Kerry.
So, what can you buy at the Orchard Store? Think farm fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables (either from this or Kerry’s own farm), locally-sourced meat, chicken and cured meats, bouquets of cut wildflowers and decadent baked goods, like pecan nut shortbread, chocolate brownies and buttercream cupcakes. While they are still waiting for a tenant to fill the café spot at the Litchi Orchard, Kerry and Amy are also serving delicious French press coffee.
“We try not to let anything go to waste,” says Kerry. “Fresh produce that doesn’t sell gets re-purposed and made into something else delicious.” The homemade popsicles are wonderful for kids. Not only are they an affordable little treat, but they are made from fresh fruit like litchis, granadillas and pineapples, straight off the farm, making them a much healthier option than going out for an ice cream!
There are, of course, all the other yummy favourites, such as macadamia nuts and oil, pecan nuts, masala blends, pickles and preserves as well as unique, handmade gifting, linen aprons, patchwork quilts, knitted children’s jerseys, ceramics, artwork and floral embroidery.
The Litchi Orchard itself has undergone some changes over the past few years, but it still has a lot to offer – with more on the way soon. There is a playground, butterfly garden and lots of green space for children to run and play, The Shed restaurant is still going strong, as well as their popular and trendy retail stores, Greenhaus and Ground Cover. The Litchi Orchard also hosts regular Maker’s Markets, with local craft, design, food and drinks and live music. Visitors can look forward to the opening of a wine store soon and you’ll be able to pre-order a basket and have a wonderful picnic in the orchard! The Orchard Store is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, 8am to 4pm.
Details: The Orchard Store, The Litchi Orchard, Seaforth Avenue, Umhlali, @the.orchard.store, @thelitchiorchard, 032 525 5118, [email protected]