Some people are all about pina coladas and singing in the rain. I’m all about cherry picking road trips. As soon as December starts looming on my calendar, I’m planning for the cherry picking season to open at Klondyke Cherry farm.
The farm is in Ceres, about two hours out of Cape Town, and for a measly 25 bucks per person you can spend all day frolicking between the trees and picking gorgeous ripe red cherries. When you leave, you pay for the fruit by weight, and the rates are very reasonable.
Our day trip went like this. We left bright and early and stopped at Die Tolhuis for breakfast. This gem is en route to Ceres on the R62 and it has all the personality, with lovely garden seating and proudly South African comfort food.
Illustration: arriving at Die Tolhuis
The best thing about Die Tolhuis has to be their mastery of Roosterkoek(traditional open fire baked rolls). It is smoky and crunchy on the outside, and soft and warm on the inside. Our group seated ourselves in the Tolhuis garden, and ordered a full round of breakfasts. Die Tolhuis menu’s current slogan is #Dietsmustfall, and we really took that to heart!
I was torn between Melkkos with cinnamon sugar and their Roosterkoek French toast, so I had both. No regrets. The melkkos was warming and soothing in equal measure, with a strong cinnamon hit. The French toast was fluffy and buttery, with fried banana and perfectly crisped bacon, and I doused it heavily in maple syrup. Bliss!
The rest of our table’s food also looked incredible! Their cherry pancakes were beautiful and could have been the subject of major food envy, except everything was so tasty.
Illustration: Roosterkoek breakfasts
We left just as a table of thirty arrived, and so I would advise travelers to book in advance during holiday season. You really do not want to miss out on your Tolhuis roosterkoek.
We got to Klondyke about an hour later, and got straight to business. The trees were heavy with cherries, and I’m pretty sure my eyes lit up when I saw them. The fields were festive with pickers, and festooned with pretty red and green bunting.
I was thrilled to notice an industrious pig free ranging his way around the parking lot picking up stray fallen cherries. He looked like he was enjoying himself as much as the visitors.
Illustration: Cherry picking piglet
We left full of cherries, pride in our picking skills and mild sunburns all round. It was only when I got home and unpacked my heaping cartons that I realized I might have gone overboard, and so if anyone has recipes for frozen cherries, give me a shout