On Friday I needed to travel to Hermanus, and stopped at Terra Madre in Elgin, being overwhelmed by the energy of owner Chef Nicole Precoudis, and her organic-style home-prepared produce, which can be purchased on their farm, online, as well as at an increasing number of outlets in Cape Town, or one can have it delivered weekly to one’s home. Terra Madre is true to its promise of ‘Handcrafted with Love’.

Chef Nicole Precoudis owned restaurants in Johannesburg for twenty years, but sold them to move to Elgin, to make her dream of organic food farming and produce distribution in the Western Cape come true. She is a power house of energy. Her Greek parents Koula and Chris, also coming from the restaurant industry in Johannesburg, moved to Elgin two years ago, and joined Nicole in running her organic farm and business. 

I arrived unannounced, expecting to find a sit-down Deli at Terra Madre, off the N2 on the Viljoenshoop Road in Elgin.  Instead I found display stands, fridges, and a long table and chair, alongside a country kitchen, in which an energetic Nicole and her small team creates Greek-dominant produce. The Greek hospitality kicked in immediately, with mother Koula making me a strong strong Greek coffee, served with a glass of water, reminding me of the coffees I drank with my late 7Eleven client George Hadjidakis when I still ran my PR consultancy. 

Nicole organised a tasting of her produce immediately, whilst I wrote down the names of the products I could see in the stands and fridges. What I loved was her presentation of all the tasting dishes, each with a slice of lemon and herbs freshly harvested from her garden outside the door. She brought out her Terra Madre Taramasalata, Aioli, and Hummus, alongside Panko-crumbed Elgin free-range chicken breasts, beautifully presented, offered with bought-in tacos. Out of this range I bought the chicken liver pâté, which I served at a breakfast on Saturday, and it was an absolute hit among my guests. 

I saw Nicole with an Elgin free-range roast chicken, and asked her if she had a spare one for me. Of course she had one, she said, making it happen even if she didn’t have one initially, beautifully presented with thyme and stuffed with lemons. She showed me her Dolmades, which are made with baby spinach leaves and not vine leaves, making it a far softer bite. Once again it is beautifully packaged, with a slice of lemon and parsley. 

The absolute highlight was the apple and pear juices, made from Elgin apples, the region being best known for this fruit. They use a hydraulic press, which can press up to 800 litres of apple and pear juice per day, made from export quality apples and pears. The pure, raw, unfiltered juice is bottled without adding sugar, only a small portion of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) is added, to prevent the juices from discolouring.  I tasted juice from apple varieties I had never heard of previously, literally tasting liquid apple and pear. Some of the apple juice varieties are Royal Gala, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, and Fuji. The juices have a shelf-life of five days, but freeze easily, and taste as good as fresh when defrosted. 

I had a deadline to meet in getting to Hermanus, and even in the last moment Nicole brought. spanakopita and an apple and almond pie to taste, both of which I took home with me and tasted subsequently, delicious treats! I tasted her honey and plum jam too. From a bowl of Elgin pears, she added some into the box of bought goodies, a bottle of juice, and then kiwis followed. 

Nicole briefly showed me her vegetable garden, and then I took the photograph of the Precoudis family team. 

Products which were on display were Taramasalata, Hummus, Harissa, Aioli, Chicken live pâté, Preserved lemons, Plum jam, Greek Spice Mix, Pickled Jalapeños, Granola, Honey, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Bottle Fermented Elgin Cider, Chili Pickles, Kalamata black olives, Piccalili, Langbaken cheeses, Usana eggs, Soups (including Butternut, and Tom Ka Gan), Moussaka, Pies (including leek, chicken, beef mince), and the frozen apple and pear juices. 

On their website Chef Nicole writes that Terra Madre is a ‘small family run farm driven by passion and a love for this land. Our focus is on farming our apples, olives & vegetables and growing our recently launched online store and the farm deli which is our core business’.

Nicole adds: ‘Our commitment is to offer simple honest food prepared from quality ingredients in our Greek kitchen with lots of love. The convenience of delicious, wholesome prepared meals, fresh produce, cold pressed juices, wines, gifts, groceries, and lots more from our range of over 120 products – delivered to your door for home, office or social gatherings or to your holiday destination. Assurance that only free range meat and eggs are sold and used in the preparation of all our food. The meat is from animals pasture reared with integrity with no use of growth hormones or antibiotics. No preservatives or artificial flavorings are used in any of our products’.

Deliveries of orders from R500 upwards is free, as long as it is on their delivery list of 167 suburbs/areas in the Western Cape. Orders must be placed by 16h00 on Tuesdays for delivery by a courier company on Fridays. The list of delivery areas is extensive, and includes the Atlantic Seaboard, Atlantic West Coast, Industrial areas such as Epping, the Boland (Franschhoek, Wellington, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Somerset West), Overberg (including Caledon, Elgin, Hermanus), the Cape Flats, the Southern Suburbs (including Constantia, Claremont, Muizenberg, Simon’s Town, and many more), the Northern Suburbs (including Century City, Durbanville, Tygervalley, Plattekloof, and more), and the Cape Town CBD. Products can also be bought at the Oranjezicht City Farm Market, and at the delightful Olive Branch Deli in Gardens. 

Terra Madre is a supplier of healthy beautifully prepared and presented foods made with love. 

Terra Madre, 38 Viljoenshoop Road, Elgin. Tel (021) 848- 9626. www.terramadre.co.za Twitter: @TerraMadreElgin Instagram: @Terramadre_elgin

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein