The SA farm stall that should best be avoided

Anje Rautenbach
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 THE WORST: Farm stalls are great tourist attractions, but this specific one is far from ideal... ~ iStock

Half the adventure of a road trip in South African is the opportunity to stretch your legs, grab a bite and stock up on folk favourites that can often only be found at farm stalls.

The smell of warm freshly-baked bread lures you in while the jars of jam stand like soldiers, shoulder to shoulder, on shelves in shades of orange, red, green and yellow. And at the counter you will find fudge begging your cholesterol levels to calm down and man-up.

SEE: MAP: 53 Fabulous Farmstalls you have to stop at

But the real farm stall treasures are hiding behind bathroom doors where unusual sayings and how-to-use-the-toilet directions are painted in cursive with frills, flowers and fading words. If you are really lucky a farm stall will go old school in the winter and bring out the crocheted a super-absorbent and probably highly unhygienic toilet covers.

If only these covers only covered the lid, but no, it will usually go right onto the seat and it will welcome your buttocks with warmth. You will find the words, “please be a sweetie and wipe the seatie” neatly displayed in a framed cross-stitched work of art behind the door and for a second you might think, “ahh nice”, but then you will realise how super-absorbent wool is and that you are possibly sitting on more than just the toilet.

On a bench, or a chair or a table, you will find a sleeping cat; there might be a chicken running around and most definitely there is a dog sleeping on the floor with a wagging tail sweeping through the dust and swatting away flies.

It’s a farm stall. Anything goes.

Given my love for coffee I recently stopped at another farm stall. 

Like always, grandma’s rusks towered out in yellow buttery tones next to the hipster’s paper thin version with stickers of no-gluten, no-diary and no-nuts slapped all over the packet while the next door neighbour’s handmade trinkets were stacked on shelves with entrepreneurial  dust.

Same same, but yet this farm stall was different.

No dog in sight, no cat, no chicken. But I did hear a duck.

The cashier maneuvered her broom around my feet as I walk from shelf to shelf.

“Sorry”, I shrieked and jumped when my feet got in the way of her dust-destructive path.

Emotionless she looked up and carried on.

Perhaps I got there at a bad time - the sun was quite low - but I was adamant to get my coffee and a possible smile; after all, it’s a farm stall, these places are known for making you feel welcome and part of their padstal family.

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I walked over to the restaurant’s side and written in chalk, the words “Announce yourself if you want to be served”, greeted me militaristically.

I felt the need to salute something or someone, shout out attention or be shouted at for having creases in my clothes and undone shoe laces.

There were no other customers in sight, I peeked over my shoulder and saw a handful of waiters (plus a manager) chatting; fully aware of my presence yet completely reluctant to bring a menu over to my side.

I obeyed the order, announced my myself and asked, “May I get a menu?”.

“Our kitchen is closed, you can’t order food”, came the voice from the one seated at the table.

I feel so welcome.

“Okay, may I still order something to drink”, I tried.

“Yes”, another one said.

I looked around and saw a stack of black files.

I pointed to the stack and said, “I’ll take a menu then”.

A few minutes later I waltzed over to their side (because that’s my job as a customer) and asked for an iced coffee.

Sweepy Sweeperson made her way from the shop to the restaurant and back to the shop. My dormant feet under the table got in the way again of her intrusive cleaning and I mumbled an apology.

I feel so welcome.

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A sign on the outside read, “Bathroom around the Corner – R2”.

I feel really welcome.

The heat of the day still lurked around in the air when my ice coffee got plunked in front of me on the table.

Chocolate powder sprinkles floated on the top while the ice clinked around in the glass.

I took a big gulp.

And another one.

It was refreshing; a real thirst-quencher.

The drink sunk about two centimeters when I got a solid chocolate powder lump in my mouth. I sucked the liquid out of the chocolate lump and just before I wanted to bite it in half, I realised that the texture was quite strange.

I lifted my hand to my mouth and moved the chocolate powder lump with my tongue to the front of my mouth onto my finger.

It was not chocolate.

On my finger laid a big fat fly, upside down with his feet tucked in from all the sucking.

I flicked it over to the other side of the table and the reality of how hard I sucked on this chocolate powder lump sent nauseating shivers through my body.

I waited for my friend to finish her coffee, paid and as I walked out I said, “You might want to clean a few things because I just found a dead fly in my coffee”.

“Oh? Really?, the cashier said.

Almost out of the door, I waved goodbye with, “Really, have a look, it’s on the table”.

No dog in sight, no cat, no chicken. But I did hear a duck.

Do you know what rhymes with duck?

It’s definitely not luck.