03 August 2010 by Robyn Campbell

Farm to plate at Eight

When’s the last time you ate a just-picked vegetable, or tucked into a chicken that’s never been frozen? I don’t mean the ones you bought from the ‘fresh’ produce counter at your supermarket.

I mean directly from the farm, out of the veggie patch, into the kitchen, and onto your plate, in a matter of hours. No air or road miles, and no months of cold chain exposure because it’s imported, or out of season.

This is the concept behind Eight Restaurant at Spier wine estate in Stellenbosch:  a farm-to-plate experience where ingredients are grown, or reared,  on-farm, and served in the restaurant next-door.

The small, hand-written blackboard menu at this whole food bistro at Spier tells you so much more than what’s for lunch. It tells you that 80% of the food you’re about to eat comes from Spier’s biodynamic farm, and that ingredients are pesticide and antibiotic-free, seasonal, natural, and usually organic.

Proving profitability and carbon natural can sit at the same table, eggs, chickens, and 90% of herbs and vegetables, and all the wine served at Eight comes from Spier farms.

Homemade iced-tea, freshly squeezed fruit juices, smoothies, and filtered tap water flavoured with fresh fruit or herbs, replaces commercial carbonated drinks. Fruit is sourced from nearby farms, venison is free range from the Karoo, and fish is sustainably caught and SASSI compliant.

At this environmentally friendly Stellenbosch restaurant even the furnishings and decor is reclaimed and recycled.

Family-friendly, affordable (excluding wine, a meal will set you back around R80 p/head), and unpretentious, Eight Restaurant at Spier is a nourishing experience that will satisfy your conscience, gratify your appetite, and remind you what the term good food really means.

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