Written by Boschendal
Farm-fresh fare with fun & flair: Meet the faces behind the counters of the Boschendal Farm Shop
The Boschendal Farm Shop is one of the busiest destinations on our estate, and with good reason! Since opening its doors in the midst of lockdown last year, it has grown to become one of the foremost suppliers of farm-fresh fare in the Stellenbosch area.
The really great thing about shopping at the Farm Shop is the fact that there are such friendly faces behind the counters. This includes Ralton Adams, Tracey Muponda, and Thozama Thembani.
Farm Shop Manager Ralton Adams has been working at Boschendal since 2014, and actually started out as tasting room manager. He has a strong background in wine and food tourism, having worked at Grande Provence and Blaauwklippen previously. Ralton loves food and wine and was very excited to get involved with the Farm Shop, which provided a whole new set of challenges.
“Food comes naturally to me; it’s something I love and appreciate personally. The great thing about the Farm Shop is that it was the first element of the estate that could open again after hard lockdown. When we were able to open our doors, people started streaming here, and I can’t blame them. After all that time cooped up, it’s a nice change of scenery to go pick up your essentials somewhere as lovely as this,” Ralton enthuses.
In his personal capacity he is a family man, who lives with his wife and two children in Paarl. He loves cooking, eating, gardening, fishing, mountain climbing and jogging with his dogs. His personal recommendations from the Farm Shop line-up includes the freshly baked Pastéis de Nata (‘people come from all over just for that!’), as well as the ribeye and fillet.
“As for the wine – you’ve got to try the bubbly! Boschendal is the second-oldest producer of Method Cap Classique in SA, with a designated winemaker doing only whites and MCC. Our big reds are also coming through strong in the last 3-5 years, so make sure to try the Boschendal Grande Syrah, and Black Angus,” Ralton recommends.
Farm Shop Supervisor Tracey Muponda has been working at Boschendal for seven years, and made her way through the ranks after starting as a member of the housekeeping team. She was promoted to senior housekeeper within three months of being employed, and then started doing management classes offered by the company after a few years.
“I finish what I start, and I work hard at improving myself. Working at Boschendal has allowed me to gain such amazing experience. After working in housekeeping, I applied for the position of concierge at the front desk at the Manor House, and got the job! I worked closely with the wine tasting team at that time, and learned a lot about wine, and started helping the managers with their admin,” she explains. “When the wine tasting area at The Werf was opened, I was asked to go along, and picked to do a wine course, the WSET Level 2. I passed with flying colours, and am very excited to learn even more in future.”
When COVID hit in 2020, Tracey was asked to assist with setting up the pop-up Farm Shop.
“As a person who go for challenges, I went to help. After four months this position came, I went for it, and I got it. It’s been amazing so far, and I can’t wait to see where we take the brand in future,” she says.
Tracey lives in Pniel and takes staff transport at night, but loves walking to work in the morning to connect with nature and arrive at Boschendal refreshed, ready to tackle the day. She recommends that everyone try the chicken wrap, toasted cheese and tomato sarmie and the carrot cake.“I am not one for sweets, but that cake is something else!” she exclaims.
Farm Shop Supervisor Thozama Thembani started working at Boschendal in 2015. She started out as a waiter at The Werf, and was then promoted to wine advisor before moving on to wine tasting team, where she conducted historical tours, did connoisseurs tastings, and facilitated canapes and wine pairings.
“I learned so much about wine, and the correct way to experience it. For instance, the glass in which you serve a wine can change the way you taste it and plays such an important role. For instance, if you serve Sauvignon Blanc in the right glass it goes straight to the back of the tongue, so you don’t taste the acidity first. Chardonnay, on the other hand, has to be served in a wide glass to the bouquet opens up,” she says excitedly.
Thozama is very happy to be a part of the new Farm Shop team. “Everyone is very enthusiastic, and supportive. We all want to learn, and they help me to grow and be my best,” she says. “I, for one, am very excited about the new Homeware section, which will be located at The Werf. It’s my baby – the new items in the shop interest me a lot and I do a lot of research about it.”
Thozama lives in Paarl and likes to explore the region in her free time, going for wine tastings and experiencing new places. “It’s not only a lot of fun, but I also get to know great spots to recommend to our guests,” she explains.
Keep an eye on the Boschendal Diaries in weeks and months to come for more introductions to the great people who help us to make our Cape Winelands destinations such a fantastic place to visit and experience. We look forward to sharing more of their stories right her