Lungi holds raspberries at Field Berry Farm

#Gauteng52, Week 8: Picking Raspberries in Joburg South

Welcome to Week 8 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I will visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit Field Berry Farm, a raspberry farm in Joburg’s far south.

This will be a quick #Gauteng52 post as I only visited this place briefly. But I need to tell you about Field Berry Farm before raspberry-picking season is over.

Lungi holds raspberries at Field Berry Farm
Raspberries from Field Berry Farm.

By the way, did you know that the word “raspberry” has a p in it? I didn’t, until I started writing this post and noticed the autocorrect when I typed “rasberry”.

A Quick Visit to Field Berry Farm

I stopped by Field Berry Farm a couple of weeks ago with my friend Kate, who grew up in the south of Joburg and was giving me a tour of the area. Joburg’s southern suburbs are vast, incorporating densely populated urban areas, bucolic farmland, and everything in between. (I’ll have more Joburg South posts coming soon.)

We followed Kate’s GPS along a winding country road and found ourselves in a gravel parking area, with a small warehouse to the right and a large field covered by shade netting to the left. A stout woman wearing a turban and a colorful muumuu exited the warehouse, followed by a family carrying several bags of fresh and frozen raspberries.

The woman in the muumuu was Lungiswa (Lungi) Ngqandulo, the proprietress of Field Berry Farm. Lungi took Kate and me for a brief tour of her raspberry fields and told us a little about her story.

Lungi walks the fields at Field Berry Farm
Lungi casts a protective eye over her raspberry fields.

Lungi spent many years employed on this farm as a domestic worker. After a couple of decades, when the children she looked after had grown up, her employers asked what she would like to do with the rest of her life. What Lungi wanted more than anything else, it turned out, was to grow berries, and her bosses were looking to hand over their business. Hence, Lungi became a farmer.

Raspberries growing at Field Berry Farm
A ripe raspberry, just before I picked and ate it.

Farming hasn’t been easy for Lungi, especially last summer when South Africa suffered from a horrible drought. Lungi has also struggled to access government agricultural grants, which blows my mind because who in South Africa could be more deserving of a grant than this stupendous woman? Nonetheless, Lungi was clearly born to farm. I could see the joy on her face as we walked the fields.

Lungi grows raspberries from the tips of her fingersLungi grows raspberries from the tips of her fingers.

Lungi’s farm provides raspberries to local stores, and is open to the public for weekend berry-picking during the summer season. Kate and I were there on a Friday so we didn’t officially pick berries, although we swiped quite a few as we walked. Lungi also sells frozen berries, berry jams, and berry syrups.

Picking starts in January and runs until the berries run out, usually mid-March. So get down there while the harvest is good. The farm is open for picking on Saturdays and Sundays between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. The entrance fee is R30 (about $2.30) for adults — children under 10 get in free — and the raspberries are charged per kilogram.

Holding a raspberry

Field Berry Farm is in Joburg’s far southern suburbs, not far from Lenasia. Directions are here. More information at +27-79-719-0793 and thefieldberryfarm.wordpress.com.

Read all of my #Gauteng52 posts and check out the interactive #Gauteng52 map.

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4 Comments

  • Reply Carolina February 23, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Thoroughly enjoying your blog

    • Reply 2summers February 23, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply autumnashbough February 25, 2017 at 3:27 am

    I missed this post until I found it on Facebook. For some reason, I’m not getting email notifications. WordPress is notifying me, either, but those were always late anyway.

    So I am a little late to say those look delicious. Has the drought ended? California is about 80% out of ours.

    • Reply 2summers February 25, 2017 at 11:02 am

      We’ve had lots of rain this summer (in fact it rained almost nonstop this whole week, which is very unusual), but we’re technically still in a drought. Someone told me this week that the Vaal Dam (the main reservoir for Gauteng Province) is 73% full now.

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