Food & Wine

Wonderfully wicked

Wonderfully wicked

Mike and Cilla Crewe-Brown of Wickedfood Earth offer a deliciously different, eco-epicurean experience on their 38 hectare, Hartbeesfontein Conservancy farm.

When asked about his objectives Mike says “for us it’s a whole way of living. We are applying holistic farming principles based on organics in its truest form – permaculture. We want to get away from the harmful pesticides, synthetic fertilisers, growth hormones, feedlots and animal cruelty that characterise so many farms. We want to give consumers a chance to source their food seasonally and locally. We want to teach people who visit us the pleasures of cooking with natural ingredients. One element fits into the next. It is a whole circle of life.”
Six kilometers outside of the tiny town of Hekpoort, a drive through the Crewe-Brown’s long and winding farm roads literally reveals the fruits of their labours. Trees laden with plump figs and juicy cling-stone peaches line the route. Fields are filled with proud artichokes, fiery, fierce chillies and an assortment of golden hued pumpkins. Delicate fennel fronds and bouffant garlic flowers sway in the breeze. Charming herb gardens exude sweet smells. Antibiotic and hormone-free veld-raised cows moo and a small breeding herd of free ranging, indigenous, fat-tailed, shaggy-coated, Pedi sheep bleat contentedly in the company of an assortment of ducks and geese. An oinking, rooting drove of heritage pigs completes the collection.

“We want to teach people the pleasure of cooking with natural ingredients. One element fits into the next. It is a whole circle of life”

Mike and Cilla play host to twice monthly Sunday lunches. Menus change regularly but customers always enjoy simple, seasonal, locally grown and reared ingredients cooked with care in a convivial and cosy space. These events are increasingly popular and booking is essential. Expect the likes of freshly baked, crackling crusted breads with lashings of organic butter which then give way to generous platters of patés, preserves and pickles and then into flavoursome feasts of roast lamb or suckling pig. Tables are generally laden with seasonal salads and sweet-toothed types will delight in the comforting, hearty and almost invariably fruity farm- grown desserts with globes of organic ice cream.
The Wicked Earth website offers details of upcoming events but past culinary hits include a barbeque and beer tasting lunch (which included everything from classic South African braai techniques to long, slow BBQ smoking from the American South and the open fire techniques of Argentina) and an autumn Pedi lamb feast. Celebratory specials occur around epicurean events such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Bespoke team building or kitchen teas are a speciality of the house. Those who want to keep on enjoying the treats they sampled over their lovely lingering lunches can purchase artisan offerings to take home.

Not sure how to make the most of Wicked Earth’s fantastic food? Why not attend one of Mike and Cilla’s many farm based, hands on, fun but informative cooking classes. The Crewe-Browns don’t teach silly or scary posh nosh pretention but rather specialise in generous soul food style classics with a contemporary twist. Whether you want to learn about cooking the perfect roast chicken, how to get the best from your kettle braai or study bread baking and cheese making there is a culinary course to suit every palate and wallet. In the cooler months meat curing and sausage making classes are offered. Inspired by the proliferation of plants? There are organic garden skills workshops too!
So what are you waiting for? Whether you want a blissfully belly-filling Sunday lunch, an enlightening cooking class or a team building to remember, the true taste of the Hekpoort valley is deliciously apparent at Wickedfood Earth.
Wickedfood Earth location: R560, ±6km east of Hekpoort, on the way towards Skeerport Contact Cilla on 076 236-2345 or

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