A sweet, strawberry escape

We were invited to Ballito’s very own Cappeny Estates Strawberry Festival by the founders of Cappeny, Xolani and Yoliswa Gumede.
Justin ScottSeptember 9, 2018

Cappeny Estate’s annual Strawberry Festival held every August has become a proud Ballito tradition enjoyed by locals and their families. Nothing could be more satisfying than singing along to familiar songs with your fellow strawberry-pickers whilst you nonchalantly sip something cold to beat the heat and, of course, sink your teeth into a juicy strawberry.

Driving up to the farm was an adventure in itself. We followed the dirt road whilst we jammed to some classic road trip tunes, enjoying the magnificent scenery and, thankfully, the good weather too. Pulling up to the entrance, I could already feel the excitement building in my chest. It was awesome to see fellow Ballito-ites gather at the thriving strawberry farm — smiling faces everywhere, live music and, of course, Cappeny’s signature punnets packed to the max with ruby-red strawberries. We had a little walk around to get a quick look at what food stalls and drink spots were available and, before we knew it, we were tucking into scrumptious pulled-beef open sandwiches. A thin slice of rye bread was the base for this masterpiece, with the saucy pulled-beef mixture and fresh cabbage layered over it.

The entrance had been set up with shaded seats and tables for people wanting to take a load off, have a drink and enjoy the incredible spread of eats. I could smell the burgers coming hot off the grill from miles away and, as for the bunny chows, well, they’re always a sight for sore eyes.  Beanbag chairs scattered across the lawns promised a chilled day of relaxation and plenty of selfies for the ‘gram.

When it came to drinks, the variety was overwhelming. It was a pretty warm day, which ruled out coffee and other hot drinks (well, for me at least). There was just so much to choose from — a smoothie stall, wine spots, strawberry craft beers and the coolest makeshift bar that kept the crowd coming back for seconds.

We soon felt just as stuffed as the bunny chows we passed whilst on our gander. The lively sound from Deep Breath had me belting out the all the lyrics of Boys to Men’s End of the Road — the crowd was too engrossed to notice me hitting all the wrong notes and I was having way too much fun too care.

Inside the harvest hall, there was so much to choose from, from gourmet cupcakes for those with a sweet tooth to huge pizza slices loaded with toppings, so there was something for every taste bud. The kids’ corner was booming! It was cool to see parents taking a much-needed load off and enjoying the day whilst their little ones got creative with the art supplies available. What was even cuter, was watching them scamper across the lush grass to show their parents their adorable little drawings.

With drink in hand, now nicely fed, camera around my neck and in the best possible mood, we decided to soak up some sun. The giant grass-covered “strawberry” and the iconic shocking-pink building with “Cappeny Estate” plastered on it were the most popular spots for selfies. What also really grabbed the attention of the crowd was the hilarious photo booth set up by BB Bakeries. This hollowed-out cardboard “bunny chow” bread was the showstopper. No, seriously, everyone stopped for a chance to “be the mutton in their bunny”, as they phrased it.

I was walking around taking photos as I usually do, when I just happened to pan left in the direction of the band members having lunch and that’s when the magic happened. They kindly invited me to have a chat, take a few really awesome photos and then get a quote from front man himself — “Just take a deep breath, exhale the past, inhale the future.” _name

It was soon time for me to cash in my chip for a chance to fill up my punnet. We were given a short demonstration on how to pick strawberries correctly and then the hunt was on, or so we thought… Turns out, looking for the biggest, ripest strawberry wasn’t as hard as I had anticipated because they had us surrounded! Row upon row of bright red gems dotted as far as the eye could see. I filled up my punnet in record-breaking time and was soon keen to head home to Google every recipe that required strawberries. Leaving the farm with a full tummy, a smile on my face and in good company, was the perfect way to end the eventful day. I guess you could say it was the “strawberry on top”! I cannot wait to see what sweet surprises awaits next year’s festival…