Meet the Artisans, Bakers, Farmers, Entrepreneurs that you are supporting through Online Karoo...
Est 2014, Graaff Reinet
There are four of us in the Agavesol business, Tim Murray, farming on Roodebloem Farm, Julian Murray, farming on Bloemhof Farm, Peter Burdett, retired manager of the Nature Reserve in Graaff Reinet, and Susan Davis.
Tim and Julian have extensive Agave America fields on their farms which they planted to sell to the local Agave Distillery.
When the Distillery closed down, we started to make other products from the Agave plants, which have excellent ingredients for use in skin care formulations. Tests by the University of Stellenbosch verified that the plant extract has anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties, and can be used with good results on pre-cancerous plaques on the skin which are caused by sun damage.
Julienne du Toit & Chris Marais
Est 2007, Cradock
In the summer of 2007, Johannesburg based
photojournalists Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit moved to Cradock in the Eastern Cape Karoo Heartland and began the adventure of their lives.
They travelled the vast Karoo in their dusty bakkie, painstakingly recording the lives and stories of the people who call this area home. On the way, they picked up a wealth of lifestyle, historical, cultural and natural information.
Chris and Julie established Karoo Space, which quickly became the Karoo website of reference. Over the years, they have built a network of friends, contacts and sources in more than 100 towns and villages around South Africa.
They freelanced for a number of South African and international magazines, selling mainly Karoo-based editorial.
Barbara, The Ibis Lounge
My love affair with foraging every Karoo bossie, herb & edible plant sprouted to life in Nieu Bethesda and I started incorporating them into my everyday life & my menus at my restaurant.
The Healing Foods Range is my passion project combining healing elements into the food I create.
Ksenia, Handmade Soap Delights
Est 2013, Middelburg
This tradition started when my grandmother used to make soap for our family. It was difficult times in Russia in the 70’s and 80’s, it was hard to find food at the shops not to mention soap. So every woman made her own soap with which she washed the dishes, washed her children, washed her hair and body. One piece of soap for everything!
When I was an adult times got easier - one could get everything in the shops. But I remembered what my grandmother had made when we were young. We used to go into the forest with her and she would teach us and let me pick some herbs. Back then I didn’t appreciate it; I just wanted to play with my friends!
But the knowledge of herbs and how to incorporate them into my soap and other products stuck with me.
First it was one small batch for the family when I decided to stop using chemicals in my skin care routine after doing research about what it does to your body.
My product is about the ingredients. When I formulate my soap recipe, I try to use the best ingredients I can, with an understanding of how each one is going to work.
When formulated properly a natural bar of soap has a long lasting lather and it feels rich and creamy on your hands, it feels good on your skin and makes your skin look healthy.
Est 2013, Middelburg
I farm with my wife, Anneke, 6 year old son, Christie and 3 year old daughter, Ni-Mari. Me and Anneke came to the farm from Wellington/Paarl in 2013. We took over from my dad. My grandad bought the farm in 1950. I was also raised on the farm, so we have something special here.
My products were born kind of out of necessity and with my engineering background I could produce jigs so that each item of a product look similar to the next and that would also save time during manufacturing. Some products are my own inventions, others are copied and improved.
Boundless, Protective Workplace
Est 1981, Graaff Reinet
The Protective Workplace was founded in 1981. It was operated by the ACVV branch until March 2017. We are now a Non-Profit organisation, Graaff Reinet Protective workplace, trading as Boundless. We are affiliated to the Persons with Disabilities, Eastern Cape as well as the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities.
We provide an opportunity for adults with physical, psychological or mental disabilities who can’t compete in the open labour department, to work & learn in a caring & nurturing environment.
Our vision is to welcome, love and accept each beneficiary, teach, develop, encourage and guide them in their abilities. We strive to improve their quality of life, self-image and self-worth. They are the centre of what we do. We currently accommodate about 32 beneficiaries at our workplace.
Our training areas include: needlework, woodwork, laser cutting and crafts. We are also working on getting our garden nursery back in shape. Our needlework department has a range of shweshwe products that make the perfect souvenirs. In our woodwork department we clean and repair furniture and craft simple items.
Remember when buying from us you aren’t just buying a thing, you are buying our beneficiaries more time to do what they love which gives them purpose & dignity.
I grew up on a farm near Hanover in the Karoo and went to school in Graaff Reinet. I always loved baking and decided to go to Hotel School to further my interest in the field. I soon realised that commercial kitchens weren't for me, but enjoyed the hospitality industry, which I was a part of for 8 years. A year after I got married to my husband, Tyran, we moved to our Schoombee family farm and that is when I started baking and experimenting with confectionary again. I have mostly been making them as gifts for friends and family, but am glad I am getting to share my passion with more people now.
Est 2005, Cradock
Lowmar Walnuts lies on the picturesque banks of the Great Fish River. Our walnut enterprise is nestled within our mixed farming enterprises including lucerne for hay, and irrigated pastures for Dohne Merino sheep (The home of Lowmar Dohnes). As we grow our nut farming business, we ensure that we keep our values centered on the quality products we produce and honest people we represent.
The pride of our orchard is our Chandler Walnut trees, planted 15 years ago and renowned for their premium quality, light golden coloured nuts. To showcase them we imported a cracking line from Germany in 2017. Now Lowmar Walnuts can supply freshly cracked, food safety tested, Halaal and Kosher accredited walnuts at affordable prices to our valued South African clients.
Wilna, Magriki Naturals
Est 2016, Graaff Reinet
Magriki was born about four years ago in the heart of the Karoo, just outside the well-known historical town of Graaff-Reinet. The beauty and simplicity of Karoo living inspired me live a healthy life and use fresh produce. I decided to do away with chemicals, toxins and plastic as far as possible and I wanted to be sure that my family was exposed to products that were pure and natural.
This was prompted by the birth of my first daughter (now almost 16) as she struggled with allergies. A friend of mine opened my eyes to the love and benefits of using natural, organic and homemade foods and products on an everyday basis. I realized how far from ‘natural’ our lives had become. Actually it is not such a difficult journey. The more we simplify and get rid of all the ‘plastic’ and harsh chemicals in our lives…the healthier and more joyful the road becomes.
The next step was to start making my own 100% natural creams and soaps. Initially my products were only meant for my own family but gradually progressed into a business.
Est 2012, Graaff Reinet
Karoo Catch is a community-based empowerment and food security company which sustainably breeds, farms and processes nutritious fish-based products, which are easy to prepare for everyday family consumption.
We have developed an innovative and highly replicable business model, which includes a networked “farm to fork” system of agro-production, value-addition processing, logistics, marketing, training and support services, utilising the world’s optimal aquaculture species and climate-resilient production systems to tap into under-utilised local resources for production of our affordable, internationally unique, fish-based protein products. Enjoy!
Eurika's Dried fruit
I live and work in Cradock, I enjoy staying busy, so started the dried fruit business, which has grown tremendously. I run a small shop from my house, and whenever possible I attend markets or festivals to sell and promote my products.
Karin's Salad Dressing
I grew up in Ceres and have lived in Graaff-Reinet since 1991. We have raised our children here and the Karoo is our home. We are healthy eaters and a green salad is on the menu most days! The salad dressing is a must in our home.
I started making the salad dressing in larger amounts for a local coffee shop many years ago when the owner asked me to bottle it to sell after many enquiries for it. Marketing is not my strength , so I have always only made it on request. It is such a lovely recipe because it does not get the oil layer lying on top. It is slightly sweet , simple and has no additives .
Rachel, Rachel's Garden
Est 2015, Graaff Reinet
Rachel’s Garden natural health and skincare products are made on a remote farm tucked away in the middle of the Karoo. I am allergic to Sulphur, and many commercial products contain Sulphur in the form of SLS, which results in my skin being red, itchy and irritated. Not to mention an itchy scalp, as SLS is found in shampoo as well! I started making handcreams from natural plant oils and beeswax in 2015, first for myself, and then for family and friends. I began to realise that there are other people out there who want products that don’t contain synthetic chemicals, and began to expand our range to include facecreams and soaps. Friends and family with skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis asked me for help, and now we make creams to help people with those conditions, as well as arthritis and sinusitis. I have studied aromatherapy and use it to augment the effectiveness of my products with beautiful and therapeutic combinations of essential oils. Packaging is either biodegradable, reusable or recyclable, and all products are made using solar power as we are completely off-grid. One rand from every item purchased goes to the Amakhala Foundation, which teaches children from all backgrounds to know and understand the environment. From the smallest of beginnings, so many good things can grow!
Est 2020, Cradock
We are from Cradock, a small and vibrant town in the Karoo. Our town has an appreciation for delicious food and hosts the annual Karoo Food Festival! Three years ago my mom and I started The Shed Eatery where our main focus has been to create a peaceful space where locals and tourists can enjoy good, healthy homemade dishes with ingredients picked freshly from our garden and nursery on the premises. Our weekly Harvest Table, made from our seasonal fresh produce, is a favourite and has slowly grown in popularity over the years with the locals.
In January 2020, after many requests from regular customer’s, family, and friends we decided to produce and start selling my father’s special spice blend which is our secret ingredient in The Shed kitchen. Growing up as a family we spent a lot of time in the kitchen tasting, mixing, and eating together as both my mom and dad have a love for homemade good food. My dad’s secret spice is a staple in our home and is called “Paul’s Spice”,named after my dad Paul Michau. We hand select the ingredients and mix the spice ourselves in the kitchen on the farm in the Karoo and the recipe has remained a secret for all these years! This spice adds flavour to red meat, chicken, pork, biltong, and veggie dishes. It is however best known in our household as the ultimate steak spice and is a regular request when we braai for friends and family at home.
Vinkel & Koljander
Est 2018, Prieska
Ons is tweeling sussies wat albei boervrouens is in die Prieska distrik. Ons het op ‘n plaas in die Prieska distrik groot geword en skool gegaan in Prieska. Ons het albei ‘n passie vir kosmaak van skool dae af en na skool het ons huishoudkunde studeer. Met ons troue (op dieselfde dag) het ons paadjies geskei vir 28 jaar. Ons droom om saam ons passie uit te leef het waar geword in 2018 toe ons albei weer in Prieska geland het. Die droogte het ons genoodsaak om ‘n ekstra inkomste te help maak vir die boerdery. Ons oupa het ons altyd Vinkel en Koljander genoem – die een is soos die ander. Van daar ons besigheid naam.
Rivaldo's Blessed Art Wire Works
Est 2015, N10, Cradock
I was born and bred in Cradock. After completing my studies, I typed a few CV's but could not find work. I was left with no choice but to make something that I could sell in order to survive. In December 2015 I started selling my first handmade windmills. It sold so well that December that I decided to make a living from selling art. Today I am supporting my family from selling this art. Art has become my life.
“Ek is nou uit en uit ‘n kaalvoet Karoo kind!” I enjoy being creative and making things that are often unique – be it a wooden chest that doubles as a bench and a chest for toys, wooden table, ball drops from old pvc pipes, refurbishing an old chair or making special gifts for people. Sometimes my husband as well as my father would look at me and say: why?.
I do it because I love creating something unique.
My mom used to sew things for us when we were young, she taught me the basics. I have been making different things for myself since I got married in 2014 and especially after my first child was born in 2016. I love being creative and making things that are a bit different.
Est 2020, Cradock
We are sisters-in-law who live 10km from each other in the Cradock area. The drought has hit farmers hard, and we decided to find a way to help our husbands with everyday expenses, yet still be around to enjoy seeing our children grow up. We started testing out various recipes in early July of this year. The recipes are just a mix of what make our taste buds dance, because we want our clients to enjoy every bite as much as we do.
Vars Uit My Plaaskombuis
Est 2019, Wielpan
Ek is ‘n gebore en getoë Karookind in murg en been. Ek het altyd gesê ek sal nooit met ‘n boer trou, reeds omdat ek weet hoe hard en ongenaakbaar die Karoo kan wees, en wat gebeur … ek trou met ‘n Karooboer!!!! Die oomblik as jy op ‘n plaas land is jou geluk in jou eie hande, jy kies wat jy met jou dag en tyd gaan maak. Ek wou nog altyd help om my deel te doen, om ‘n bydrae te maak om die pot aan die kook te hou, maar ek en my man het aan die begin ‘n ooreenkoms aangegaan, maak nie saak wat, ek sal hom nooit alleen op die plaas los en op die dorp gaan bly, nie ter wille van kinders of vir werk nie. Maar toe kom die ongenaakbare droogte, ek het my knieë deurgebid en die Here gesmeek vir ‘n oplossing, en ek wil nie nét nog een wees wat kos maak, wat kan my kos anders maak. Ek het in ‘n vennootskap met die Here gegaan en belowe dat ek elke liewe pastei, elke bak kos wat uit my kombuis gaan sal iets vir iemand beteken. Ek koop my hoenders by my buurvrou wat ook help om hulle pot aan die kook te hou, ek kry my eiers by nog ‘n plaasvrou, ek het liters melk by my ander buurvrou gekoop, so help ons mekaar!!!! My vleis kry ek by die slaghuis op die dorp, ek weet dis ons eie mense se vleis. My pasteie is nie net kos nie. Dis trooskos uit die hartjie van die Karoo, dit bring gesinne bymekaar om ‘n tafel wat weer kan lag en gesels oor al die onthou –jy’s, ek bring ‘n uitkoms vir daai moeë mamma wat die beste vir haar gesin wil hê maar wat ook lang ure werk, en nie die krag het om saans ‘n gekookte ete aanmekaar te slaan. My kombuis is my plek waar ek tyd saam met my Vader spandeer, en met elke liewe deksel wat ek opsit voel ek die geluk, tevredenheid, troos wat ek bring aan die persoon wat dit oopmaak. Ek sien laggende families om ‘n eetkamertafel…… én ek kan vanaand hande vashou saam met my man…