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Eastern Cape padstal of the month: Baddaford Farm Stall, Fort Beaufort

At least once a month we stop at a padstal (farm stall in English, but it's that's like calling a cathedral a building) and review they have on offer. Most will be on the Sunshine Coast, up north into the Drakensberg and into the Klein Karoo. On occassion we might wander further off, too!

We were on our way to see snow on the Winterberg when we passed the Baddaford Padstal. We'd been alerted to this fine establishment by the Carla and Fred of iGadi fame, and since it was more or less on our way as we drove to Queenstown on the R61 and it was heading toward lunchtime, we duly pulled over.

In the olden days, a padstal consisted of one ramshackle roadside building crammed with fresh produced that ranged from potatoes to peaches and grapes. Few provided any sort of ready-to-eat food, and expecting to find a cup of coffee was out of the question.

Baddaford isn't anything like that. The building it's in seems to be a renovated farm house - the dining room alone is larger than the areas displaying goodies on sale, and outside it's surrounded by a nursery with row upon row of fat, healthy aloes in pots.

We sat down and ordered two home-made spinach and feta pies and cappucinos. Wow. I'm very peculiar about pies, the need to be super-fresh and nothing less than hand-made before I'm impressed. baddaford's pies were just that, as well as creamy without being soggy.

Spinach and feta pie. Delicious.

The pies were a little on the small side, but that turned out to be a good thing, because we were still hungry enough to follow that up with two slices of lemon meringue. They too were excellent and went down well with two cups of Earl Grey.

Date balls. Essential eating!

Then came what we actually stopped for: To shop at a padstal! We bought a bag of first-class, pink-fleshed oranges and a bag of naartjies. The price was fair for the quality, but hardly the sort of bargains you'd expect from a padstal in years gone by. Nowadays padstals are like delicatessens, with prices to match.

Even so, we stopped at Baddaford on our way home after frolicking in the snow for the rest of the day. We caught them just as they were closing their doors and bought another bag of naartjies, because we'd already devoured half the first bag by then. We also treated ourselves to some date balls, which were very tasty.

Apparently Baddaford is a haven for the local residents wanting good food in a congenial environment. I can understand why. I'd be hanging out there too if I lived in Fort Beaufort. And whenever we travel that way again, we'll be pulling over, for sure.

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