When the family rooster, Percy, went into the potato patch and promptly keeled over from the bug poison on the vegetables, Nipper’ Thompsons father, Clifford, began investigating companion planting to keep away the beasties. Ever since then, Nipper, of Wegraakbosch Organic Dairy fame, has tried to minimise his impact on this beautiful environment. Cows and goats produce the famous cheese and other dairy products, the veggie patch feeds half the village and the pigs bring in the bacon. “It’s great to be independent,” says Nipper “and I hate waste, so its lekker to use what others throw away.”
It is all interconnected here – the pigs clear out the brambles for new fields which are transformed into a lush, organic veggie patch, winter pastures or flowering cherries, kept wet by an old-fashioned water wheel. The dairy still uses the 800 year-old processes and a copper cauldron warmed by a wood-burning fire. “The traditional process is simple so why change it?” Nipper asks. Their motto is all about taking time and looking at the whole ecosystem. Wegraakbosch has a constant stream of city-dwellers visiting the countryside and stopping in to enjoy the rustic farm setting, the peaceful lifestyle, the slow-food ethos and a cheese platter under the wisteria.
“Slow Food envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet.” Their approach is based on a concept of food that is defined by three interconnected principles: good, clean and fair food for all. ‘A food’s flavour and aroma should be recognizable to educated, experienced senses, the environment has to be respected and social justice should be pursued.’
The Slow Food Movement is celebrated in Magoebaskloof in the organic farms, including Blueberry Heights and Kuhestan Organic Farm where you can pick handfuls of delicious blueberries and gooseberries in season and enjoy the pies, cordials and other foodie treats. The Berry Festival is prime time for the Slow-foodies but you can visit any time to tap in on the home-grown and organic in Magoebaskloof.
You may also like the Mina’s Neighbourhood Market and the Hoedspruit Farmers’ Market. Find out more through LOVE LIMPOPO.