Redberry Farm has always brought a kid-friendly atmosphere to mind; you know a place where the little ones can run and play, where activities like berry picking and jumping aboard the Redberry Express can keep them entertained and where the parents sip on much needed coffees while keeping a watchful eye.
And yes, while that is true, a recent visit to the strawberry farm just outside of George in the Garden Route, did a 180 on my mind on what I believed Redberry Farm would be, because there I was in my mid-thirties in the middle of a field of strawberries atop a miniature model train choo-choo-ing and waving my way past toddlers, moments before liquefied grown-up grapes found their way to my glass.
Strange but true.
The kids might be entertained at Redberry Farm, but adults? Adults are fed – stomachs and souls – with food and food for thought because the experience at Redberry Farm is not only educational (and of course enjoyable), but also inspirational. And it was the message of Mark Miller, Redberry Farm’s owner and strawberry farmer, that flipped the 180-switch on.
“If you look at it you have to look through it and that is probably why we don’t fulfill our potential in life, we don’t see it through. What do you see? One strawberry? This strawberry has about 200 seeds, which means 200 plants; each plant will carry about 60 strawberries, resulting in 12 000 strawberries if I plant them out… And again, 2.4 million seeds, 2.4 million plants, 144 million strawberries. It is just an interesting way of looking at things when you see the multiplication of a seed.”
That message packs a punch. A strawberry punch.
The birth and origin of Redberry Farm stretches all the way back to 2001 when Dave Cruse and Mark Miller purchased land from a dairy farm, a year or what later the tea garden, shop and strawberry picking activity opened its doors and today 400 tons of strawberries are produced annually and supplied to stores across South Africa. But there’s also more history here than the sweet fruits of the Millers’ labour, the farm also packs a rich historical punch with a cottage dating back to the late 1800s built by C.J Langehoven’s family, a quaint 2-bedroom fully equipped cottage that is being used as guest accommodation.
And there’s more.
Things to do at Redberry Farm (besides strawberry picking)
Strawberries are without a doubt the main attraction at Redberry Farm and picking starts at R20 per person, but there are some other showstoppers to experience as well.
Besides the activities listed below, there are also some kid-friendly activities available on Fridays and Saturday (and during school holidays) like bumper boats and bubble balls, there is a playground and ponies.
Stop for breakfast
Start you morning off on the right foot and enjoy a coffee and breakfast at the Red Shed Coffee and Berry Bar and Tea Garden. You can’t go wrong with the Berry Jar which is a combination of yogurt, strawberries, seeds and honey.
All aboard the Redberry Express
The Redberry Express is a miniature replica of a real-life train – powered by a lawnmower engine – and it travels along 800m of track through the strawberry field, a tunnel and through the greenery next to the maze. There is no age limit, so why not climb aboard? Train ride is R20 per person and you can purchase your ticket at the Farm Stall.
Get lost in a maze
The Hedge Maze at Redberry Farm is not just another maze, it is one that was planned out meticulously to give visitors the best experience possible as well as the opportunity to get lost. The maze is the largest permanent hedge maze in the Southern Hemisphere and consists of 7 strawberry stations, a 25 meter underground tunnel as well as a look-out point giving you a view of the 10 km of pathways. You get a maze card, and if you find all 7 stamps you will get a reward at the end; it is R40 per person and you can purchase your ticket at the Farm Stall.
Shop at the Farm Stall
Stock up on farm freshness at Redberry’s Farm Stall; you can buy strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, jams, preserves, cookies, biscuits, gifts and more.
Get a taste of Houtbosch Wines
From the foothills and peaks of the Outeniqua Mountains, just 9km from the ocean, and to the Gamka soil of Calitzdorp, is where the story of Houtbosch Wines originate from and its first tasting room situated at Redberry Farm. They offer interesting pairings – such as a fudge pairing or a mushroom pairing – as well as platters to complement their selection of wines and craft beer. Don’t leave without tasting the Sauvignon Blanc with its wild fynbos and herbs, tropical fruit and grassy flavours. And trust me – you don’t have to taste it – just get yourself a bottle of their moscato called Zephanie, it is like sipping on love.
Don’t miss The Noshery Pizzeria & Deli
If you are a thin-based pizza kind of person then you need to make a u-turn right now – it doesn’t matter if you are in Cape Town, Johannesburg or Pniel – because The Noshery Pizzeria & Deli will take your idea of thin-based and raise you a thin-based pizza so thin that it feels like eating poetry. Rumour has it that they serve a carrot cake worthy of poetry as well.
End your day on a sweet note at Framboos Handcrafted Ice Cream
After all the strawberry picking and walking from station to station in the maze, you deserve a sweet treat and normal store-bought ice cream just won’t do the trick, you need Framboos Handcrafted Ice Cream where you can pick from a variety of flavours of gelato and sorbet, and you can also make your own ice cream cookie sandwich, or try one of their Belgium Waffles with an array of toppings… once you smell the waffles there is no turning back.
Stay a night
Linger in the smell of sweet strawberries and let it lullaby you to sleep when you stay a night in the guest cottage. The cottage, with its beautiful green shady garden and big stoep, has two bedrooms (one with a double bed, one with two single beds) with a living-and-dining room area, as well as a fully equipped kitchen. The cottage is R1500 per night.
Redberry Farm is situated a few kilometres from George Airport (Blanco area) and offers easy access for visitors travelling along the N2, as well as the R404.
Visit their website for more information, www.redberryfarm.co.za.
This blog post was sponsored by Redberry Farm. All opinions expressed are my own.