Ethical Food Overberg
At Schoone Oordt Country House, we are passionate about ethical food and especially ethical food that we are able to source in the Overberg. We are passionate about the food that we make, but also the ingredients that we use to make that food. With harvest time in the beautiful Overberg coming to an end we thought we’d share the passion we have for our stone ground flour supplier, Eureka Mills. Yes, Eureka Mills is as passionate about their ethical food as we are and what a wonderfully long way they’ve come to the success that they are today.
Eureka Mills started out in 1998 as the brainchild of the Uys cousins, Lafras and Pieter, from Karringmelksrivier in the Overberg; two grain farmers looking to create a value-added product from their crop. They set up a small stone grounding plant and the first batch of flour was packaged by hand in their own kitchens. Whilst they strongly believed in the nutrition and goodness of their product, the challenge was to create a market for wholesome, authentic flour in a world where convenience shopping and fast moving consumer goods was deeply entrenched.
That’s where Nico Steyn came in. In 1999 Nico, also born and bred in the Overberg, joined the company as the marketing and general daily running of the plant manager. Nico, who had travelled Europe extensively before joining Eureka Mills, was inspired by the European bread and flour culture and their return towards high quality, authentic food. He tried to incorporate that bread and flour culture into the Eureka Mills brand, quite successfully, we think. He remembers their first marketing endeavours with fondness. Days on the road presenting their products to restaurants, bakeries and hospitality institutions in the Southern Cape and even to the Cape Women’s Agricultural Association (CWAA) ladies in the small Overberg towns – the perfect way of spreading the stone ground flour and bread ‘gospel’. Today Eureka Mills has distribution centres in five provinces from where they send their delicious wheat to all corners of South Africa.
At Schoone Oordt Country House we bake our own bread and afternoon treats daily using Eureka Mills’ Brown Bread, White Bread and Cake Flour. Our Chef Obie says that these flours give a greater rise with less raising agent due to the purity and unbleached quality of the wheat. Eureka Mills prides itself on the purity of all of their products. Not only is their wheat unbleached but it is not chemically fortified and none of their products are mixed with other substitute grains.
To further enforce the authentic and ethical bread and flour culture in South Africa, Eureka Mills hosts a number of artisan bread workshops through the Overberg, Cape Town and Johannesburg where both amateur and pro bakers can learn how to mix, knead and bake the perfect bread.
Eureka Mills recently expanded their product range to include scrumptious rusks with the aim of providing ethical convenience foods. We bake our own home-made rusks weekly to put into the tea and coffee stations in our rooms. These, along with our scrumptious afternoon tea bakes really do taste better… Not only because of a superior quality product, but because they are made with love from inception to completion.
Eureka Mills recently upgraded and expanded their plant and although they still operate on a medium family run scale we know that they will go from strength to strength as their wheat so accurately represents country living and the soul of the Overberg.
On that note, Eureka Mills is running a fantastic competition at the moment… Pop on over to their website for a gander.