No. 007 PRODUCE DISPLAYS AT OZCF MARKET
Theme: South African Essence
Coming across the Oranjezicht City Farm Market’s (OZCF) displays of harvested produce from over 35 ethical and organic farmers is an uplifting experience that tells the tale of the bountiful nature of the Western Cape, the hard work and passion of small-scale, artisanal farmers, and the tenacity and passion of the people who operate the market every weekend. Set at the heart of this popular well-loved destination is a large space under canvas where the tiered seasonal fruit, vegetables and flower arrangements can be found – a breathtaking, every-colour-under-the-sun celebration of goodness and health. The dis-plays are simple in their execution; the delicious, seasonal produce is the hero, from everyday things like onions, corn or potatoes to more unusual heirloom varieties of tomatoes, artichokes or asparagus. Because of the joyous arrangements, they have become one of the most Instagrammed things in the whole of Cape Town.
The success of the market in attracting over 1.4-million visitors, in the five years it has been at Granger Bay at the V&A Waterfront, is thanks to the clear, hands-on connection between the producers and the everyday consumer. The commonality in all the fare on offer is the pursuit of excellence; here you will find some of the best South African produce in the country and, judging by the tourist reactions and feedback and the amount of locals who make it their weekly shopping trip, OZCF is now rated amongst the best farmers’ markets in the world.
Without fail, every week, you will find the founder, Sheryl Ozinsky, a passionate food warrior and champion of small-scale farmers, bustling around, encouraging people to fill their baskets and assisting the suppliers to sell their wares. She and her business partner, Caz Freidmann, believe in offering everyone a chance to get a foot in at the market so they offer entry-level incentives like hiring a simple barrel for R200 from which to test the trade and get feedback from the average 5,000 visitors a day (the market is open at weekends). If the newbies are successful they can then, in time, hire some shelving to sell more products and finally graduate to be a stall holder.
It’s in the circular, economic growth of this market where Ozinsky finds her zeal. “For every stallholder there are at least three or four employees, so with about 80 in total that is roughly 320 people directly employed by their involvement in our market. And our farmers are employing and feeding many others,” she explains. “Some producers have been with us from the beginning and some have started new farms, now that they have this route to market – that is the importance of farmers’ markets.” Quality and excellence is a non-negotiable requirement at the market. “We take immense pride in that. From our cleaners and security guards to our suppliers, everyone knows they are working for the greater good and strive for excellence.”
Saddened by the closure from lockdown and the fact that OZCF was not deemed an essential service (“They let Coca-Cola supply supermarkets but I can’t sell fresh, nutritious cabbages from local farms,” says Ozinsky), within two weeks the organisers turned it around, got the paperwork sorted and together with Ucook now sell and deliver grocery boxes online. It is helping alleviate a new problem because many artisanal farmers have surplus crops and produce due to the fact that restaurants are closed. Ozinsky is in fighting form: “Now, more than ever, our farmers are the heroes. We underestimate the value of people like that, what they bring to our society and how much they earn doing so. They are the frontliners – ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”
OZCF is closed until further notice. For more details on ordering during lockdown visit www.ucookfarmersmarket.co.za
100 Beautiful Things is presented by the V&A Waterfront in celebration of South Africa’s creativity, compassion, ingenuity and resilience. Every week we will be showcasing five amazingly beautiful creative things that make us proud. It is curated in partnership with Platform Creative.