Farm fresh

From handpicked veggies and grain-fed poultry to sweet treats, pantry staples and your favourite sushi, it doesn’t get fresher and more mouth-watering than this. Impala Ridge Farm is an online platform that cuts out the ‘middle man’. Their food is affordable, locally sourced and can be delivered from the farmer to your door.

Based in Drummond, just below the famous Comrades Wall, and flanked by the railway line that carries the Inchanga Choo Choo and its passengers on regular family train rides, Impala Ridge Farm’s online portal, which started as a small business just prior to lockdown, has quickly turned into an exciting enterprise  in the food supply market.

Owner, Natasja Da Silva says the idea was born out of a mutual desire, with a like-minded friend, to supply city dwellers and other locals with farm fresh produce.

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“I am a mom of two beautiful children Connor (12) and Riley (9) and my husband Ricky and I run Impala Ridge Farm where we supply grain fed chickens. This is our passion and my full time job, along with a sushi business that I have run for the past 10 years. I met Cath Meyer (of Vanilla Bean Bakery and The Farmer’s Wife fame) at a sushi event in 2019. Chatting about farm life and the produce offerings on the different farms throughout Dalton, New Hanover and Wartburg, I thought it would be a brilliant idea if we teamed up to start an online store supplying the city folks with farm fresh produce.”

Things started off slowly, but during the first Covid-19 lockdown, Tash and Ricky, together with Cath and a host of brilliant farmers and suppliers (who she says have become more like family), decided to offer home deliveries to local communities to alleviate the health risk – and the product list is almost endless. From bakery treats, dairy and dinners made easy, to fresh food, German specialities, meats, health, pantry and pet products, and unforgettable sushi, their aim is to make eating healthy affordable and accessible.

“The business grew so fast that we employed a handful of people during the first peak of Covid-19 to support the running of the business. We have since built an accredited name for ourselves along with an incredibly loyal customer base. We’ve built good relationships with our neighbours who produce and supply fresh fruit, vegetables, free range meats, preserves, farm fresh milk and cheeses. All products are delivered to our farm daily, packaged and delivered to the city community via our online store. There is also click-and-collect option, but we deliver throughout KZN all the way out to Ballito, Umhlanga, Durban north, Durban and surrounds, Amanzimtoti, the Upper highway, Pietermaritzburg and surrounds.”

They are currently in the process of opening a small farm store above their farm, next to the historic 1000 Hills Hotel so that you can meet the team and chat to them directly.

“It’s all about bringing memories back to the dining table … how you picked strawberries off the farm with your grandparents or how you waited for the milk man to deliver your milk in glass bottles. Food is a journey, it needs to be shared, and farming is a community-driven project. It’s a passion that is deep-rooted among us all. We care about our produce from production to sales; we care about our community and the well being of people. Both my children are whole heartedly part of the farm business, whether it be packing produce for customers or quality control. I like to think they will carry this passion with them.”

Details: www.impalaridgefarm.co.za; Tash Da Silva 076 343 8486, Angie Baker [email protected]

Cath Meyer: Insta: @thefarmerswifeza @bakeryvanillabean

 

Watermelon Lemonade

 

Ingredients

½ cup white sugar

½ cup water

4 cups cubed watermelon

3 cups cold water

½ cup fresh lemon juice

6 cups ice cubes

 

Method

Place the watermelon into a blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a saucepan over medium to high heat until the sugar dissolves – about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cold water and lemon juice. Divide the ice into 12 glasses, and scoop 2 to 3 tablespoons of watermelon puree over the ice. Top with lemonade and stir gently before serving.

 

Summer Chicken Shawarma Bowl

 

Ingredients

 

Pita Chips

4 pita breads

olive oil

herb salt

 

Chicken

juice of two lemons

½ cup olive oil

6 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed and minced

Salt (to taste)

cracked black pepper (to taste)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons paprika

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes

1kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs

 

Salad

3 heads romaine lettuce

½ cup chopped parsley

200g cherry tomatoes

1 cucumber, diced

1 cup tzatziki (homemade or store bought)

 

Method

For the pita chips: Split the pita, brush both sides of each round with olive oil and sprinkle with herb salt. Cut the rounds into triangles (like you would slice a pizza). Spread the triangles on a baking sheet (do not line with baking paper). Bake in a pre-heated oven at 220°C for 5 to 10 minutes or until brown and crispy.

For the Chicken: In a large Zip Lock Bag, combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, oregano and red pepper flakes. Add the chicken and shake to combine. Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour or up to 12 hours.  Pre-heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat, and grill each chicken thigh for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from skillet and set aside to rest. Slice the chicken against the grain and transfer back to the skillet and sauté for 2 minutes until just slightly crispy around the edges.

For the Salad: Shred the lettuce. Combine the tomatoes, cucumber and parsley.

To assemble: Combine the chicken and the tomato mixture. Divide the shredded lettuce into four bowls and top with a hefty portion of the chicken/tomato mixture. Drizzle with tzatziki and sprinkle with pita chips. Serve immediately.

Belgian Double Chocolate Brownies

 

Ingredients

8 eggs

600g caster sugar

400g dark Belgian chocolate (melted)

400g white Belgian chocolate (grated)

500g butter (melted)

150g cocoa

150g cake flour

 

Method

Pre-heat oven to 170°C. Cream together the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add the melted butter and mix for a further 30 seconds. Fold in the chocolate, flour and cocoa. Grease and line a deep baking tray. Pour the mixture into the baking tray and bake at 170°C for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to set in the pan for an hour – it will look gooey but will set on cooling. Dust with icing sugar when cool.

Chef’s tip: these brownies freeze well.

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