In a perfect world, the food we eat would all be produced ethically and sustainably, devoid of chemicals, pesticides and antibiotics. In the real world, that’s sadly not the case… the food industry lost its way decades ago, thanks to a few greedy stakeholders more interested in turning a profit (selling GMO- and mass-produced crops) than in the wellbeing of our planet and its inhabitants.
But there is some good news… Over the past two decades the world has seen a rise in the demand for (and supply of) naturally produced food – a movement, we’re pleased to report, that is trickling down to South African shores.
Healthy, chemical-free living is no longer a pooh-poohed and overlooked alternative, it’s become a bona fide movement, driven by conscious consumers demanding answers about the provenance and quality of the food they eat.
The rise of farmers’ markets has gone a long way to help customers bypass big supermarkets and avoid buying mass-produced schlock – but because these only happen once or twice a week, there is still a gap for more permanent, ethically driven greengrocers.
We went back to the source to find the greenest grocery stores in Cape Town, where you can shop with a clear conscience, knowing that your purchases are good for you and the environment. As usual, if we’ve left out one of your favourites, let us know in the comments below.
1. Organic Zone
What started as a box scheme (where customers were offered various-sized boxes of fresh, local and organic fruit and vegetables) in 2003 grew in size and popularity to become a stand-alone retail shop in Lakeside, welcoming its first customers in May 2008.
It now offers one of the widest selections of organic fruit and vegetables, poultry and meat products, raw and unpasteurised honey and yoghurt, pantry cupboard staples, vitamins, beauty products, household detergents, pre-made meals, juices and smoothies in Cape Town.
Organic cred More than 80% of its foods are certified organic, and they buy mainly from biodynamic-orientated farmers. Non-certified organic farmers are inspected first before produce is bought and relationships made.
Contact 021 788 3133, email@example.com
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm
Saturday, 8am – 5pm
Sunday and public holidays, 9am – 5pm
Where to find it Corner Main and Putter Roads, Lakeside Shopping Centre, Lakeside, Cape Town
2. Oranjezicht City Farm Market in Granger Bay
While this is not a bricks-and-mortar shop per se, we thought we’d include it here because of the volume and variety of organic products on offer. Every Saturday and Sunday, foodie fantasies come true at the OZCF, where independent local farmers and artisanal food producers showcase their beautiful wares. You can do your weekly food shop here, as you choose from a range of mostly organic vegetables, fruit, bread, dairy, free-range eggs, honey and muesli. Keen gardeners can also stock up on edible plants, seedlings, compost, gardening supplies and equipment.
But for us, the most fabulous thing about this market – apart from its wonderful location and fabulously festive community atmosphere – is the incredible array of food, drink and beverage stalls dotted around the area, all of which serve ethically produced items that can be enjoyed at the market at the tables and chairs provided, or taken home.
Organic cred Most of the food sold at the OZCF Market is grown organically at the farm, alongside other independent organic farmers.
Green cred The market encourages plastic-free, Earth-friendly shopping, so bring your own bags.
Contact 083 628 3426, firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening times Saturday, 9am – 2pm, Sunday, 9am – 3pm
Where to find it Granger Bay, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
This mom-and-pop operation is run by hands-on owners Sam and Deirdre Elliott, who are unrelenting when it comes to the quality of produce on their shelves – they don’t stock anything if they don’t know where it comes from, how it was farmed and who the suppliers are.
Their grass-fed, ethically reared biltong is some of the best in the province! And their other meat, fish and poultry products, droëwors, free-range eggs and organic vegetables are of the same high quality. Seapoint housewives have been known to trek around the mountain for some of their mouth-watering biltong. The oversized free-range eggs are delicious (note: if you use them for baking, one Gogo’s egg is the equivalent of two large eggs).
Organic cred Sam and Deidre’s preoccupation with provenance means that what you’re buying has been ethically and sustainably sourced.
Good to know Once a week Sam and Deidre upload their favourite homemade recipes onto their website, email them if you would like to be added to their mailing list.
Contact 021 671 0573, email@example.com
Where to find it 6 Cardiff Castle, Main Street, Newlands, Cape Town
4. The Urban Farmer
Hidden in the heart of Kenilworth, this fully fledged grocery store is a treasure trove for all things organic. Started by Amanda Russo as as a tiny garage shop, it now stocks a range of organic, pasture-reared meat, dairy and free-range eggs, fruit, vegetables, spices, grains, superfoods, tea, coffee, kombucha, nuts, soap, household products and eco-friendly toothpaste.
Organic cred All fresh produce stocked at The Urban Farmer is grown organically by local farmers around the Western Cape.
Green cred The produce is packaged in biodegradable materials and glass.
Contact 021 761 0269, 082 955 7360, firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening times Monday, 1pm – 6pm
Tuesday – Friday, 9am – 6pm
Saturday, 9am – 1pm
Where to find it 278 Main Road, Kenilworth, Cape Town
Brought to you by husband-and-wife team, Jon-Paul and Nicol Bolus, whose De Waterkant apparel-store-cum-eatery, The Loading Bay, has been a hip hotspot for over 10 years, Sans is a stripped-down neighbourhood greengrocer with a holistic touch. Housed in Sea Point’s buzzy Artem Centre, a few doors down from JP’s other venture – Pauline’s Stand-up Coffee Bar – Sans is a greengrocer and home-goods store in one, offering customers the unique opportunity to purchase healthy, organic produce and beautiful homeware and kitchen paraphernalia in the same place.
In the greengrocer section, you’ll find a wide range of organic fruit and vegetables, and there’s also a deli selling cheeses, bread, cold meats, olives and more – all from reputable, tried-and-tested local purveyors.
Good to know Pasta Tuesdays takes place weekly, during which pasta is freshly prepared on site. Sans will also be holding market days, where seasonal produce from select farmers (with a strong focus on ethically sourced meat, poultry and dairy) will be available for purchase.
Organic cred Produce comes directly from source, cutting out the middleman, and relying on close relationships with local suppliers.
Green cred Everything has been carefully considered, in an attempt to encourage conscious consumption Bring your fresh bags and shoppers; paper bags and hemp shoppers are available for purchase if you forget yours.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 10am – 7pm
Saturday, 9.30am – 4pm; Sunday, 10am – 2pm
Where to find it 277 Main Road, Sea Point, Cape Town
6. Komati Foods
Major foodies love this little gem of a store that seems to stock all the obscure ingredients you learn about in episodes of Masterchef. This Observatory shop has customers coming from far and wide for their intimate selection of gluten-free and organic nuts, muesli, dried fruit, yoghurt, legumes, spices, sweets and flour.
Organic cred According to the helpful shop assistant, they offer a small selection of organic grains and seeds as well as organic dried figs, apricots, raisins and dates.
Contact 021 4482130, email@example.com
Opening times Monday – Friday, 8.30am – 5.30pm
Saturday, 9am – 3pm
Where to find it 74 Lower Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town
7. Organic Touch
This quaint health shop in Claremont stocks everything from homeopathic, naturopathic, Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicine to aromatherapy oils, gluten- and wheat-free food and snacks, superfoods, healthy chocolates, Camphill Village yoghurt and granola, as well as items for vegetarians and vegans.
Organic cred In addition to the healing items, Organic Touch also offers a range of natural and organic body and cleaning products.
Contact 021 674 0062, firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm
Saturday and public holidays, 9am – 3pm
Where to find it 127 Belvedere Road, Belvedere Square, Claremont, Cape Town
8. Chardonnay Deli
You’ll find this the delightful deli in a renovated old farm-style house near Groot Constantia. Owner Charmaine Ann Lilje’s passion for wholesome food and warm hospitality make meals (and shopping) here utterly pleasurable. Add magical foresty views, friendly staff and a laidback vibe – and you’re sure to spend a few hours filling your bags with free-range, organic produce and pre-made meals.
Organic cred All the delicious treats on the menu, pre-made meals and produce are hormone-free and free-range.
Good to know Charmaine is opening a second store, Dalebrook Café, on Kalk Bay’s Main Road (in November 2018) where, in her usual delicious style, offers breakfast, lunch, light meals and dinners as well as a range of pantry must-haves, such as granola, olive oil, jam, fresh fruit and vegetables.
Contact 021 795 0606, email@example.com
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 7am – 6pm
Where to find it Chardonnay Deli, 87 Constantia Main Road, Constantia, Cape Town
9. Unpacked Pantry
What was started by eco warrior, Bianca Kasselman, as an online store for conscious shoppers is now a bricks-and-mortar grocery store in the southern suburbs of Cape Town, where she aims to raise awareness around the fragility of the planet. In addition to stocking a variety of kitchen-cupboard staples (herbs, spices, oils, nuts, olives, dried fruit, legumes, sweets, coffee, sauces, baking essentials), Unpacked Pantry also sells homemade preserves, fresh bread, and organic fruit and vegetables.
Organic cred Fruits and vegetables are organic, and consciously sourced from carefully chosen suppliers that use sustainable methods.
Green cred One of several plastic-free stores in Cape Town, Unpacked Pantry uses packaging only where absolutely necessary. It also stocks reusable, plastic-free food containers (great for school or work lunches, and storing leftovers in the fridge).
Contact 079 829 4119, firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening times Tuesday – Thursday, 9am – 5pm; Friday, 9am – 4pm; Saturday, 9am – 2pm; Sunday, 10am – 2pm
Where to find it 4 Sol Cohen Road, Heathfield, Cape Town
10. Wild Organic Foods
Wild Organic Foods is every foodie’s go-to shop, offering a wide selection of healthy, ethically sourced foods that include fruit, vegetables, meat, bread, dairy, ready-made meals, and more. To shop here, you need to register on their website as a Wild customer – after which you can create your own bag of items, or opt for the standard Wild Bag of 10 items for R180 which changes on a weekly basis, and is filled with produce organically grown by farmers in the Western Cape.
Your bag can be delivered to your home (for a small fee) or to your nearest collection point (at no extra cost). Collection points include the following areas: Bergvliet, Blouberg / Tableview, Burgundy Estate, Century City, City Bowl and CBD, Constantia, Claremont, Durbanville, Helderberg (Somerset West), Hout Bay, Kenridge, Milnerton, Muizenberg, Newlands, Noordhoek, Paarden Eiland, Rondebosch, Observatory, Sea Point, Stellenbosch and Woodstock.
Organic cred All of the vegetables and fruit are farmed without the use of synthetic fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides. Livestock is treated ethically and humanely: no routine use of antibiotics and hormones. One of Wild Organic’s rules is that animals must be given plenty of space and fresh air to thrive, grow, and live a genuinely free-range life.
Green cred All of the food at Wild Organics is delivered in recyclable brown paper bags, as naked as possible. Products that have to be packaged are done so using recyclable materials.
Contact 021 510 5447, 084 448 1920, email@example.com
Opening times Monday – Thursday, 9am – 4pm
Friday, 9am – 2pm
Saturday, 9am – 1pm
Online shop: Wednesday, 6pm – Saturday, 5pm.
Where to find it 29 Gray Road, Paarden Eiland, Cape Town
11. Back Area Gardens
Situated at the Oude Molen Eco Village in Pinelands, this micro-organic farm grows all sorts of treasures, with the aim is to bringing fresh, organic produce to the suburbs as conveniently as possible.
The deli stocks a range of organic fruit, vegetables and herbs grown on the farm, as well as organic dairy products, flour, free-range poultry, fresh, pasture-reared meat, coffee, teas and a variety of condiments, brought in from small independent farmers and producers around the Western Cape.
Or, you can shop online – from Tuesdays at 1pm until midnight on Friday.
Organic cred All food sold at Back Area Gardens is grown organically on the farm or by local organic farmers.
Green cred Food that has to be packaged is done so with plant-based materials, otherwise bring your own bags and eliminate the plastic altogether.
Contact 072 696 3196, 083 321 8818, firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening times Deli: Wednesday – Friday, 10am – 6pm
Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Online: Tuesday, 1pm – Friday, 12am
Where to find it Oude Molen Eco Village, 80 Alexandra Road, Pinelands, Cape Town
12. Soaring Free Superfoods
With over a decade of experience in health education, husband-and-wife team, Peter and Beryn Daniel, founded Soaring Free Superfoods with the aim of demonstrating how delicious healthy food can be – and how great it can make you feel. They sell a range of organic and wildcrafted, sustainably sourced superfoods in eco-friendly packaging as well as their two inspiring recipe books Rawlicious and The Magic of Superfoods.
Organic cred Peter and Beryn assure all shoppers that every product – from their single-ingredient superfood range and superfood chocolate bars, to their convenient range of smoothie blends, breakfast mixes and snacks – are organic or wildcrafted and certified pesticide-free.
Green cred All their packaging is 100% compostable and biodegradable. The Natureflex inner bags are not plastic and are made from sustainably farmed wood pulp, while the outer boxes are printed on sustainably farmed board using vegetable-based inks. Now that’s guilt-free shopping, if ever we heard of it.
Contact 0861 000 976, email@example.com
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm
Where to find it check online to see where you can purchase their products
13. Nude Foods
Nude Foods owner and founder, Paul Rubin, was frustrated with the amount of single-use plastic packaging used by regular grocers when he started the plastic-free bulk wholefoods store in November 2017. Nude Foods sells organic fresh fruit and vegetable; non-GMO dried pantry goods, oils, vinegars, honey, tahini and nut butters all on tap – as well as an earth-friendly selection of natural body and home products.
Everything is sold in bulk, so customers are encouraged to bring their own containers, fill them, weigh and pay. For those without containers, Nude sells a range of reusable glass jars and bottles, cotton-dry goods bags, and mesh fresh-produce bags. Also on offer are brown paper bags at no charge. Unlike most stores, you won’t be charged extra for the plastic packaging!
Organic cred They offer organic and non-organic (for those wanting a slightly cheaper shopping experience) non-GMO produce.
Green cred They’re a plastic-free grocery store so you can shop for fresh delicious produce without any waste.
Contact 021 437 3003, firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening times Monday, 10.30am – 6pm
Tuesday – Friday, 9am – 6pm
Saturday, 9am – 2pm
Where to find it 5 Constitution Street, Zonnebloem, Cape Town
14. Wellness Warehouse
The familiar green Wellness Warehouse logo is a comforting sight for those who pursue the healthy lifestyle; and a regular one at that, as the company has grown to encompass 27 stores throughout Cape Town and Gauteng, as well as several Wellness Cafés.
The stores boast an impressive selection of organic and/or health products – from fresh produce, condiments and pantry staples to readymade meals and guilt-free treats, beauty and fitness products, clothing, household cleaning, gardening, home appliances, and much more.
Order a freshly pressed juice or protein shake from the Wellness Café to sip while you browse the aisles for goodies to take home. Or grab a seat at one of the tables and enjoy a wholesome wrap, salad, smoothie or freshly-squeezed juice. You can also do your shopping online.
Organic cred Locally sourced organic and free-range options are stocked wherever possible, and artificial ingredients are avoided at all costs. All dietary requirements are catered to including vegan, raw, gluten-free and low-carb.
Green cred Their focus is on providing environmentally friendly products, which are categorised according to their biodegradable status.
Contact 021 276 2148, email@example.com
Opening times Dependent on the branch. Use the Wellness Warehouse store locator for more information.
Where to find it Wellness Warehouse have stores throughout Cape Town. Use the Wellness Warehouse store locator for more information.
Wellness Cafe has branches at Cavendish, Kloof Street, V&A Waterfront and Parktown Quarter.
15. Think Organic
This natural grocer sells farm-fresh fruit and vegetables, artisanal bread, free-range dairy products, grass-fed meat, and more – with a focus on ethically sourced, organic produce. The best part: they can deliver to your home or work, or to various collection points throughout Cape Town. However, deliveries only occur weekly (on Thursdays), and their online store only takes orders between Tuesday and Sunday (which are then delivered on Thursday the following week). Their excellent selection of food products, sourced from a carefully curated list of suppliers, makes it worth the wait.
Good to know Think Organic have a special Farm Fresh Friday delivery service, offering a selection of items that are not available on the standard online store due to the schedules of the relevant suppliers. These include dairy, fresh Karoo lamb, free-range chicken and game meat. Orders must be placed before 6pm on Sunday, and are delivered on Fridays (although customers can choose to collect their deliveries from the Kenilworth Store on Fridays or Saturdays).
Organic cred Fruit and vegetables are sourced from local farmers who use ethical and environmentally friendly farming methods, free from chemical products.
Contact 083 423 6931, firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening times Tuesday – Friday, 9am – 5pm; Saturday, 9am – 1pm
Where to find it 27A Putney Road, Kenilworth
Highstreet Tygervalley, High Street, Bellville
16. Freedom Bakery
Despite being dogged by controversy (for allegedly using gluten, wheat and sugar in products that claimed to be gluten-, wheat- and sugar-free), owner Natasha Mandiringa has garnered a loyal legion of devotees who continue to flock to her bakery in Bergvliet for a delicious variety of bread, wraps, biscuits, rusks, muffins and sweet treats – all (allegedly) made using alternative flours such as coconut, millet, sweet potato, spelt; and alternative sweeteners such as coconut sugar and xylitol.
If you’re not rushing off, sit and enjoy a breakfast or lunch dish that has been made with love. Natasha also caters for vegan and vegetarian customers.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
Saturday, 9am – 3pm
Where to find it 13 Main Road, Corner Dunlop Lane, Bergvliet, Cape Town
17. Organic Living
This neatly packed store in Constantia Village stocks a range of goods geared towards those who pursue healthy living. These include a big range of vitamins and supplements, whole foods, beauty and baby products.
Organic cred The store’s expansive selection of healthy and nutritious foods includes organic vegetables, bread and yoghurt from Camphill Bakery, free-range eggs, granola, muesli, dried fruit and nuts, cheeses, healthy desserts, and more.
Contact 021 794 1888, email@example.com
Opening times Monday – Friday, 8.30am – 6pm; Saturdy, 9am – 5pm; Sundays & Public Holidays, 9am – 3pm
Where to find it Shop 27B, Constantia Village, Corner Main & Spaanschemat River Road, Cape Town
18. FRANKIE FENNER MEAT MERCHANTS
Even though they don’t sell fresh fruit and vegetables, we thought FFMM deserved to be on the list for their commitment to ethically sourced meat (and a handful of other products). Whether you’re preparing a Sunday roast or a braai for the next rugby game, the friendly and knowledgeable staff are happy to advise you. Fresh cuts can be ordered online from their website, or you can visit one of their stores yourself.
Organic cred Meat is sourced only from farms where animals are treated well, with space to roam, and a diet that hasn’t been chemically tinkered with. Considering how loosely terms like “free-range” are thrown around these days, it’s good to know that Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants actively seek out relationships with suppliers who they know are using ethical and organic methods.
Contact 076 233 6040 (Claremont)
021 461 0206 (Gardens)
081 316 9251 (Woodstock)
Opening times Monday – Friday, 8.30am – 4pm
Saturday, 9am – 2pm
Where to find it Shop 21, Palmyra Junction, Palmyra Road, Claremont
Shop 20B, Gardens Centre, Corner of Buitenkant and Mill Street, Gardens
143 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock
The grass is greener
If you’re partial to an outing in the winelands, and love a good deli, be sure to check out these:
- The Farm Shop at Vredenhof in Somerset West
- The Deli at Boschendal
- The Farm Kitchen at Spier
- The Deli at Klein Joostenberg
- The Delicatessen at Tokara
- Simon’s Deli at Groot Constantia
- Oakhurst Farm Stall in Kenilworth
- Joostenberg Deli in Muldersvlei
- Salisburys Deli in Woodstock
- Newport Deli in Sea Point
- The Foodbarn in Noordhoek
Research by Annabel Short, Matthew Flax, Alicia Chamaillé, and Nikki Benatar
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