The idea was created by 2 BFFs, Dany and Danielle, and was based on a similar concept which originated in the US. The two travel to various farms in Gauteng, and search for and discover passionate farmers and interesting farms. The goal of Down to Earth is to reconnect people to the origins of food. They organize pop up feasts at different farms, where they set up a long table, get a chef to cook up a delicious farm style meal and encourage people to appreciate their surroundings.
The farm we went to was Babaroots, a leading herb supplier to SA, situated just outside Hartbeespoort. The menu for every feast is original, because the focus is always placed on the produce from the hosting farm.
I absolutely loved the set up of the table, and I also liked sitting banquet style- it was great meeting different types of people.
Each feast lasts 4-5 hours, and this is communicated in advance, so you can’t arrive starving otherwise you’ll be constantly eyeing the mobile kitchen (which is a gorgeous green truck) to see when the food is coming out, when this really isn’t what the day’s about. The courses are spread out, so it really is a good excuse to chill with friends and enjoy the sunshine- I’d definitely recommend you go in a group.
Tickets are R550 per person which is a tad expensive I think, but it isn’t like you’re going to do this every Sunday- it really is a special lunch, so think of the R550 more as the cost for a day’s entertainment rather than just a lunch. The ticket price also includes unlimited drinks- water, selected wine and beers- Farm Feasts pairs with a different micro brewer at each feast so fans of craft beer will be chuffed.
For appetizers, we had beer battered “roosterkoek”, with a choice of two toppings, the first being crushed herb mayonnaise with braised blue wildebeest and smoked salt and the second, a vegetarian option, being mature gouda, kumquat preserve, roasted pine nuts and fennel.
It is important to note that Farm Feasts can’t really cater for dietary requirements because most dishes are served “family style” rather than plated individually. For starters, we had a curried tomato soup with herb filled vetkoek, while the main was baby chicken roasted in a lemon mustard sauce with baby baked potatoes, sweet chilli creamed spinach with red peppers and butter braised spring onions with chives. Platters were placed throughout the long table and we all dug in. The food felt very homely and we really enjoyed how the freshness of the herbs enhanced the dish, especially being in the environment in which they are grown.
Dessert was a Riesling poached pear tart with a chai spiced custard. I really enjoyed my Sunday afternoon- it was so much better than going to an indoor restaurant or a mall for lunch, and definitely better than cooking and then just sitting on the couch watching tv, which is probably what I would have done otherwise.
There aren’t any upcoming Farm Feasts scheduled just yet, but be sure to subscribe to their newsletter at www.downtoearth.travel so that you can get an invite to the next feast.