Tierhoek Organic farm is the final stop in the secluded Noree Valley (situated about 20km outside Robertson). As we drove up the gravel road leading to the farm, signs reminded us to slow down, because the dust created by our speeding vehicle is bad for the fruit production on the farm. A fitting reminder that our fast paced city life also generates a lot of “dust” - or rather things to do and places to be. Tierhoek Organic farm is a place where you can embrace another type of lifestyle. Not necessarily slower, but rather more deliberate.
We were blessed to unwind for a couple of days at Stone Cottage, one of five holiday cottages on the farm. Set above the Spaarkloof dam and completely private, it is the ideal place for a romantic breakaway.
From a protected “stoep” there are views over the Langeberg mountains.
Inside, a standout feature is the fireplace, opening to the lounge...
And also to the bedroom, creating a really cozy atmosphere ;-)
Wood, matches and starters are provided. The first bag of wood is free of charge and any additional bags can be bought at R20 per bag. The wood is collected and packaged by the local farm workers. They also receive any profits from the wood sales.
The en-suite bathroom has a free standing bath…
Which is ideal for romantic evenings ;-)
There is also a completely private, open-air shower - Nice!
The kitchen is well furnished…
Tierhoek and Spaarkloof have been fully organic farms since 2005, with Apricot, plum, quince and lemon orchards. Seasonal vegetable are also grown, mainly tomatoes, chard, chillies and kale.
Any fruit that cannot be sold fresh goes into their organic fruit jam range. They have settled on a fruit content of 60% (compared to 40% for conventional jams). Alison has found that adding more fruit leaves the jam too “runny”. At this sweet spot, they also don’t have to add so much additional sugar - creating a more natural and tasty product, yum:-)
Even more delicious is their organic dried-fruit range, which is 100% sulphur free.
A full range of fruit and jams is available for purchase at the cottage. The purchases are managed using an honesty box system.
A natural fynbos garden is maintained around the cottage.
Only about 35 hectare of the the 1,500-hectare Spaarkloof farm is in production. The rest is wild mountains, consisting of half of the Babadasberg mountain range. There are a number of marked-out paths in the mountains, including Piet’s and Pronk’s path.
Pronk was a wild horse horse that lived in the mountains and came down to the dam most nights to drink. Sadly after 35 years, Pronk died on 13 November 2013 but his memorial remains on the dam wall at Tierhoek.
We decided to follow Piet’s path. Piet Moses was an farm worker who used the path to visit family in the nearby Koo valley. His brother Jan is still living on the farm, having moved here from Touwsriver more than 70 years ago.
We headed up the Klipspringer path and after a stiff climb soon joined Piet's path.
The path led us on a ridge parallel to the valley, with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The farm is rich in wildlife, with leopard and caracal roaming the mountains and jackal buzzards and black eagle soaring over the cliffs.
Eventually we turned back into the valley and descended down to the farm cottages.
At the end of the 4km hike there were tired limbs but also a well deserved glass of wine (or two!) and a braai with a great view.
We loved Stone Cottage and the Tierhoek farm. This hidden valley is holistically managed by the Gilson family. From their fully organic orchards and vegetable gardens to their Biodiesel project, the focus is on sustainability and enhancing the environment. It is a lovely romantic breakaway and is highly recommended!
Bookings can be made via the farm’s website.