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Seasonal Food in South Africa

Looking for a guide to seasonal food in South Africa? On this page we will share our tips on when and where in Cape Town and the Western Cape you will get the freshest fruit and vegetables in season.

In South Africa, you will find good quality food in the supermarket chain stores like Checkers, Spar and Pick and Pay. But often fresher quality fruit and vegetables you will get from Woolworths stores, whose prices are correspondingly higher, and for bulk shopping try to get your fruit and vegetable shopping done at Fruit & Veg City Stores. But the freshest food in South Africa you will get at the weekly farmer’s markets or directly from the farms. Here is our guide to harvest times for food in South Africa so you will know what and when to get the freshest fruit and vegetables available in South Africa.

ExpatCapeTown Guide to Seasonal Fruit and Vegetable

Springtime - Food in South Africa

When spring arrives with longer sunshine hours and more warmth you will feel drawn outside and enjoy the lovely countryside around Cape Town. If you are interested to get the freshest food in South Africa you will love to go to the farmer’s markets and farm stalls which are popular with the locals and expats in Cape Town.

Spring is the time for fresh strawberries and sweet ruby raspberries. So if you want to get the freshest fruit mother nature offers go fruit picking at a strawberry farm near Stellenbosch.

At Polkadraai Strawberry Farm and a couple of other farms just outside Stellenbosch, you can pick your own strawberries from the beginning of October. If you prefer to rest in the heat enjoy the majestic landscape in the Stellenbosch Mountains and let others do the picking for you and get your fresh strawberries and home made produce at the farm stall.

Fruit & Veggies in Spring

Bananas, blueberries, cherries, kumquats, mulberries, pineapples, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries

Asparagus, zucchini (baby marrows), beetroot, cauliflower, cucumber, green beans, mangetout, mushrooms, peas, spinach, sugar snap peas

Fruits in Season: Summer in South Africa

The summer months December to February are the time to get the best berries fresh from the berry orchards: raspberries, blackberries, tayberries(which are a cross between Scottish Raspberries and American blackberries) and blueberries and bramble berries. My favorite place to get these delicious berries is to drive out to the Hillcrest Berry Farm near Stellenbosch, a mere 40 minutes from Cape Town. Betty and Raymond O’Grady opened their berry farm almost 20 years ago. Here you can combine your berry shopping trip to the lovely countryside with a stop at their scenic garden café where you can enjoy great creations of their cook, all incorporating some kind of berries. There is a good selection of other delicatessen, a large variety of jams and frozen berries in their farm shop.

Another good place to do your own fruit picking is Klondyke Cherry Farm near Ceres. The cherry season is from end of November until end of December. I have not yet been at Klondyke myself but will try the coming season. One of my expatriate friends highly recommended it and is going there every year to get the freshest cherries. She makes the best cherry cake I ever tasted. Hmmm delicious! So stock up you freezer for Christmas and enjoy the best the Cape can offer. If you enjoy growing your own fruit and vegetables, that is easy with the Mediterranean climate in Cape Town. 

Seasonal Food in Summer

Artichokes, apricots, bananas, cherries, granadillas, grapes, litchis, mango, mulberries, nectarines, peaches, plums, pomegranates, prickly pears, pineapples, quince, rhubard, sweet melons(spanspek), watermelons

Asparagus, aubergines (brinjals), beans, cabbages, chillies, cucumbers, lettuce, mangetout, potatoes, radishes, onions, peppers, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, wild rocket (rucola), zucchini (baby marrows)

Fall/Autumn Food in Season

March to Mai is the harvest season for many of the South African food produce. The Elgin Valley near Grabouw is the main producing area for apples in south Africa. 60% of South Africa’s apple crop is harvested in the Grabouw region. Tasty fresh farm produce is offered by the Houw Hoek Farm Stall on the N2, just a 60-minute-drive from Cape Town. Another great and delicious South African food in season is the avocado. You will love the buttery taste of the deep yellow-green stone fruit. And do not forget the grape harvest, lots of festivals going on this time of the year.

Fruit & Veggies in Autumn

Apples, avocados, dates, gooseberries, figs, granadillas, grapefruit, grapes, lemons, oranges, pears, plums, prickly pears

Beetroot, butternut pumkin, chillies, green beans, horseradish, leeks, mushrooms, radishes, spinach, squashes, sweetcorn, sweet peppers, sweet potatoes

Guide to Seasonal Winter Food in South Africa

The winter months June to August still yield a grand variety of fresh fruit and vegetables in South Africa. For cooking your hearty meals in winter you will be spoilt by choice. Should you take the fresh green broccoli or Brussels sprouts or do you like a yummy pumpkin soup or even try a typical South African Waterblommetjie soup? We are sure the delicate taste of the orange Cape Gooseberries, an expensive delicatessen overseas, will be a real treat, you can indulge in without getting broke.

Seasonal Fruit in Winter

Avocados, bananas, Cape gooseberries, grapefruit, guavas, kiwi fruit, kumquats, lemons, naartjies, oranges, pawpaw (papaya), pears  

Aubergines (brinjals), beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut pumpkin, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chicory, fennel, garlic, ginger, green beans, leeks, mushrooms, parsnips, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, sage, baby spinach, sweet peppers, sweet potatoes, watercress, waterblommetjie 

For delicious recipes and further references about food in South Africa we recommend this book:

Marita Pieterse: Four Seasons: Cooking throughout the year in South Africa. Struik Publishers 2006

Living in South Africa - Expat Guide Book by Regina Graeff and Derryn Campbell

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