A Farmstall in a Railhouse on a winding road.
Sheryl Crow reckons ‘everyday is a winding road’. I reckon she is a Midlands girl at heart, because here, we have lots of winding roads arranged side by side with rolling hills and fields dotted with cattle.
And the railway. Always the railway. The intersection between our history and our future, neatly tied up with steel tracks and tirelessly toiling engines shunting railway carriages.
This is where I find myself on Women’s Day in 2020. With Au-Gust winds pushing dust and leaves around the winter landscape, I stop for the very first time at The Railhouse Farmstall. To be exact, it is located at the corner of the D2346 and R103 (or opposite the Granny Mouse Country House entrance) on that very winding road my friend Sheryl sings about.
There are folks a plenty sitting back and enjoying sweet treats along with their coffee and burger’s being grilled up by the ladies as I amble into the yard. The Farmstall is something South African’s are very at home with. If you have been in most farming communities for any length of time, you have seen them in occasionally on the roadside in varying shapes and sizes and offerings.
I chat to Joni, the owner, to find out where all these goodies come from, why the farmstall, why here and now?
Joni grew up in the FreeState on a farm and later moved to the big hustle, Johannesburg. She loved her considerable time in the big city, met her partner and settled for some years. When the little ones came along, the couple decided that they wanted them to have the experience of growing up on a farm with all the interesting experiences that come with it. And just so lucky for us, this particular farm ended up on the Midlands.
The one prevailing thing that Joni noticed, was that there were not a lot of farmstalls in the area, which was a nostalgic memory for her growing up. When this property came onto the market, she realised that this was an opportunity to do something about that memory and an idea and jumped at the opportunity to set up The Railhouse – a local family farmstall.
Enter the farmstall with loaded tables of farm style goodness. So many of the treats and goodies in the shop are made by the family, in addition to locally sourced products as well.
As Joni says, “We are a family that makes things. The sweet treats, some goods and even the biltong come from the farm”.
It is a gathering of yummy goodies as far as the eye can see. Biscuits, almond slices, muffins, fudge, cookies and all sorts of artisanal goodies.
I get my cappuccino and glance up out of the windows just in time to catch the children in the yard all being blown by the wind to the one side; only to realise it isn’t the wind, but their enthusiasm to all get to see the train clackety-clacking by and wave and cheer. There is plenty of space for the children to run free in the fenced yard dotted with tables and chairs. There is also inside seating for the more inclement days, or in case you may feel that August winds are not your kind of vibe.
By the way, the beans for the coffee are supplied and roasted by Manna Roastery, our local Hilton crew. The coffee is good. Great mouth feel, perfect temperature, wonderfully texturised milk and the perfect level of smoky coffee flavour.
So do yourself a favour né… whether it be on your amble on the Midlands, or a pointed trip specifically for that almond slice, get yourself to The Railouse.
You will thank me.
Until then…see you on the Road!