Long table lunch under the Pepper trees. This table of 22 flew in from P.E. in 5 light aircrafts!

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2016 Schreiner Karoo Writers Festival

 

The 7th annual Schreiner Karoo Writers Festival took place 21 – 24 July. Lovers of literature and all things Karoo were treated to close encounters with well known authors and a chance to mingle with like-minded spirits. Here are some of the highlights Toby and I attended: 
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Karoo INKspiration was an introduction workshop on painting with ink, bleach and water, using the landscapes, textures and buildings of the Karoo as inspiration. Theresa Hardman is a P.E.based artist and architect with a special place in her heart for the Karoo and particularly Cradock. The workshop was thoroughly enjoyed by all! 


 Mike Hardwich – Vet and conservationist enthralled a captive audience with the trials and tribulations of his career as a country vet. He has worked with wild and domesticated animals for over 39 years. All of his enjoyable tales are documented in his 3 books and proceeds go towards ‘Dr Mike Hardwich Foundation’ – to help animals of the less fortunate. Find more info here.

Liz De Wet – Archivist at the Cory Library for Humanities research presented a collection of Lidbetter photographs. Catherine Knox is a textile artist with a particular passion for stitch and natural fibre. Her work can be seen at The Studio, Donkin Street, Bedford. Her creative touch and impressive stall was much appreciated by all, one of the Festival organizers. Browsing through second hand books for sale at bargain prices. We came home with far too many books and not enough weekend! “In this wild and tender place may we ever hear the sound of truth, in the whispering of stars. In the turning of windmills, in the silence of the veld” – Antony Osler.

Poetry, politics, mindfulness, laughter, tears, and honesty were the order of the day as this enigmatic and inspirational man wove the story of his Buddha and Zen wisdom. He gave an enraptured crowd a fascinating glimpse into his books and encounters with human kind whilst simultaneously imprinting his playfulness, appreciation, insight and perception.

Thanks to the sponsors of the festival, the National English Literacy museum and all the organizers for a spectacular event! From one festivity to the next…don’t miss our monthly Farmers Market in Cradock on Orange Grove. An exciting new addition are 4 beautiful donkeys…see you there!

Michau Gathering 2016 – Clash Of Clans

The eccentric Dr Ingram Anderson was the spark that ignited and inspired the gathering of the Michau family. We met him in 2014 when he came to Cradock and visited us on Orange Grove in search of information about his ancestors (his mother was Michau). This culminated in a massive gathering of the clan two years later over two days. The organizers as below from left to right: Paul Cecil Michau, Dr Ingram Anderson, Toby Michau, Johan Michau, Mike Michau.

Mike Michau from Somerset East has spent the last 25 years of his life studying Michau ancestors and provided a wealth of family information and anecdotes. The family tree was put up for display, it wrapped around the entire conference room! Various speakers gave interesting talks and family members brought along memorabilia to share. The day was concluded with a banquet dinner at Victoria Manor Hotel. Many thanks to the Antrobus family and staff of Victoria Manor Hotel – the food was absolutely out of this world and the attention to detail was appreciated by all.


Sunday morning was spent exploring historical graves and visiting Doornhoek grave sites. The NG Moederkerk was also visited where a Michau ancestor donated the pulpit.

Sunday lunch was on Orange Grove in true Karoo style, half a kilo steaks and good times spent getting to know distant relatives. The venue was the shed which is home to Cradock’s monthly farmers market and long table lunch. A great weekend was had by all! There is a CD available for anyone wishing to obtain a copy. I have documented the weekend in photographs and historical memorabilia and old photos. Also included is historical Michau grave sites. Contact traceymichau@gmail.com

Our Farmers Market, Farmlife and Family

One of the best things about The Market is that we are able to share it with family. For the first one Toby’s sister was here from P.E. and for this one my parents came all the way from KZN, along with my son from P.E. It’s a lot of work but it’s such a great feeling to share all this with our family. Our intention with the Market is to create a platform for locals to sell their wares, to encourage people to buy local and also to attract visitors to our beautiful town. All proceeds from The Farmyard, Feed The Animals goes to Cradock Animal Shelter and sales of handmade shopping bags goes to Vukusebenze Homeless Shelter. 

 Below are my parents – Lyn and Graham Wright, enjoying the scenery and coffee on the mountains on the farm. We are so grateful for the support of the local community and for the privilege of being able to give back to a town we also lately love living in. 

Charcuterie Weekend Workshop by Chef Gordon Wright

This past weekend we hosted a weekend workshop on Orange Grove, ‘Charcuterie’ by chef Gordon Wright. Food has always been my passion and the art of Charcuterie has long since fascinated me. We are privileged to have some of the best quality meat in the world, right here on our farm…so it just makes sense to want to try and make use of it in every possible way. Our monthly Farmers Market is the perfect outlet for these Artisinal products. Ontop of the mountain Gordon shot an old Blesbok ewe with field guide Gideon. 
Salami & making Fermented Sausage

Salami is mostly made from pork. Salumi include bresaola, which is made from beef, and also cooked products such as mortadella and prosciutto cotto. Salami is a specific type of salumi.

The word salumi comes from the Italian word salume, “salted meat”, derived from Latin sal “salt”. Fermented  sausages are created by salting chopped, ground meat to remove moisture, while allowing beneficial bacteria to break down sugars to develop a flavorful product. Bacteria break down these sugars to produce lactic acid, which not only affects the flavor of the sausage, but also lowers the pH from 6.0 to 4.5-5.0, preventing the growth of bacteria that could spoil the sausage. The salt and acidity are concentrated as the salami dries. 

The ingredients found in a fermented sausage include meat, fat, bacterial culture, salt, spices, sugar and nitrite. Nitrite is added to fermented sausages to prevent the formation of harmful bacteria, botulism. Sugar is added to aid the bacterial production of lactic acid during the 18-hour to three-day fermentation process; the fermentation time depends on the temperature at which the sausage is stored: the lower the temperature, the longer the required fermentation period. A white mold and yeast adheres to the outside of the sausage during the drying process. This mold adds to the flavor of the sausage and aids in preventing harmful bacteria from attaching to the sausage.

Kudu liver served with caramelized onion on freshly baked Chiabatta as an appetiser.For lunch I prepared a Lamb and Venison Potjie. Braising the meat here over the coals. Proscuitto

Prosciutto di Parma is a simple product, It’s nothing but pork, sea salt, air, and time.

I think the comments, but mostly the pictures tell a story. The workshop was inspiring and everyone left with a renewed passion for this lost art of preserving and curing meat. Thank you Gordon Wright!

Sitting by the fireplace with a good red, good company and salami….there’s no place in the world I would rather be. 

Country Life Karoo Cooks Tour Vist Orange Grove

   

The evening kicked off with Pomegranate Mojitos at the windmill. 

    
    
    
    
 The starter was Venison Carpaccio – a combination of Mountain Reedbuck fillet and Fallowdeer sourced from the farm. This was accompanied by a Shiraz Peach chutney, Gruyere and Melba toast. 
   
  Mementos to take home.   
The pigs and chickens had no problem munching the left overs!

    Follow the lights and the music to the Top Shed. This is also where our monthly Farmers Market takes place. 
 

 Toby and Gideon preparing the Earth Pit Oven.   
Tequila tasting.

    
 Homemade panzerotti filled with biltong, ricotta and basil, served with a butternut soup.

   
 Thank you Country Life Magazine and Karoo Cooks, it was an honour and privilege to share our world with you!