If you want to just get away from it all for a little bit, have a bite to eat, pick up some fresh organic produce and shop for a Christmas gift, Sugarbush Farm is the place to go. It’s a ways down Leopard’s Hill, about 20 minutes from Crossroads and about 10 minutes from the American school.
Used to be they had a little shop called Jackal and Hide at the back of their house with their hand-made, Zambian-produced leather goods. You’d drive up and park in the back and get your garden produce and roam the shop. In early June they opened a beautiful(!!) new Dutch Cape type building (typical of South Africa), but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Thom and I woke up last Friday and thought we’d shake it up a bit and go eat breakfast out there (aren’t we an exciting couple!).
So, we drove over the hills…(past a vacant police checkpoint; it says “stop” but just ignore it like everyone else does and drive through)…
And through the woods (well, savannah if you must know)…
…to Sugarbush we went (are you humming the song? over the hills, and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go)…
One thing I find interesting here are the small cottage businesses. One day you’ll be driving down a normal neighborhood and the next day there will be a sign up saying “Friday’s Bookstore” or “Merriman Cafe.” Down this road is no exception — right before you reach Sugarbush there’s a small wooden sign on the right proclaiming “Mary’s Book Store.” On the left there’s a sign for a little furniture store. Then on the right again is Sugarbush — keep a sharp eye open — it’s easy to miss. If you’re like us you’ll always think you’ve gone too far and just when you’re ready to turn back there it is.
The new building is beyond gorgeous!
It has a full front porch with tables and chairs to have a cup of tea, read the paper, work on your computer or have a light meal. (Yes, that’s my beloved strolling up to the steps.)
The store is full of beautiful leather goods (all designed by the owner Gillie Lightfoot, see this recent write-up about her) and other crafts and art. If you scroll down this page to the sixth photo you’ll see a row of cowboy hats. Thom subtly suggested (about 20 times) that it would be a good present for him. Now, given the frequency with which Thom finds suitable birthday, Christmas and Anniversary gifts he’d like (and which, of course, I buy immediately and then give to him), I’ve pre-bought presents at least through the year 2025. So, what’s one more present? I bought it, brought it home, left it on the counter while I put away groceries, and looked up in time to see him asking, “what’s this?” “Your year 2026 anniversary present!” He does look pretty hot in it.
Out back there is more seating and the counter for “The Design House Cafe.”
You go up to the counter and order your food. There’s really no breakfast food but we showed up at 8.30 am one morning and Thom was able to get bacon, eggs and pita bread. I don’t like breakfast food so was happy to get a chicken ceasar salad with extra anchovies at 8.30 am — the only place in town to do so, I’m sure.
There’s a full bar menu as well but we never drink before 9.30 am so didn’t try anything.
After (or during) your meal you can go play on the kids playground off of the back porch.
And then you can go choose your fresh produce. It works a little differently here than farms in the U.S. Here, you find the gardener and then walk around and point at what you’d like. He picks it immediately, washes it and wraps it for you. The prices are very(!) reasonable and the produce is organic. I went with a friend earlier in the week and she bought a bag stuffed with lettuce for about a dollar (kw5000).
When I saw the dark brown soil (compared to my red soil) I hunted down the head gardener and talked with him a long time about what he does to get his soil in good shape and to keep away pests (basically compost and companion plant planting, respectively).
The Design House and farm are open Monday – Friday 8 am to 4.30 pm, and Saturday 8 am to 12.30 pm. Last time I was there they were thinking about opening on Sundays come August or September so stay tuned.