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Wagon Wheel Pies Farm Stall on the N6
“Easily twice as big and much tastier than a standard supermarket or garage pie.”
WAGON WHEEL PIES FARM STALL
On the N6 north of East London
PHONE: 083 718 0191
“I’m not sure if Joubert was really looking for me, or whether he was just there for a tasty pie, because I’d heard he’d been here before …”
Jonathan and Margie are on an upward curve. Wagon Wheel Pies is their third farmstall. “Previously we had farm stalls in Alexandria and Cathcart, but this is our biggest by far.”
Wagon Wheel Pies is on the N6 approximately 19km north of East London and 60km south of Stutterheim and is situated on a 19-hectare smallholding. “We started here in 2017,” says Jonathan “there was nothing. We built everything from scratch.”
Their lies a name in the tale: while still in Alexandria, Jonathan came across an old ox-wagon wheel and promised himself that one day it would become the focal point of a bigger, better farm stall. This came to pass at the Cathcart stall, but when he sold it, he kept the name and the wheel.
Jonathan believes in keeping things simple. “Our menu has only one item: pie, chips and gravy.” However, it’s the variety of pies on offer that is the attraction: venison, beef curry, lamb and mint, spinach and feta, beef and bacon, chicken and bacon, and hamburger, among others. “And they’re big boys, mind you” says Jonathan “easily twice as big and much tastier than a standard supermarket or garage pie.”
During the week sales reps frequent the stall, and on weekends it’s tourists and day trippers. The pies are baked on the premises using the spices and flavourings that Jonathan has perfected over the years. It is this unique taste that make his pies so sought after and bring customers back for more. Every week people ask Jonathan to allow them to sell or bake his pies under license in other cities and provinces, but he will not be swayed. “It’s important that the quality of my pies is consistently high. So, they are only available here,” he says firmly “I suggest you order a few dozen, we’ll freeze them for you, and you take them home with you.”
Jonathan and Margie are fifty-fifty partners in the Wagon Wheel partnership, but depend on Margaret for the day-to-day activities, welcoming and serving of customers. When they take a break, they also rely on their daughter Bianca to hold the fort, “She’ll open in in the morning and in the afternoon after work she’ll pop in to help with the cash-up,” says Jonathan.
In addition to the pies Wagon Wheel also offers a large variety if preserves. “Jams, pickles, chutneys, you name it” boast Jonathan “and 80% of it is made with these two hands.” Jonathan grew up on a pineapple farm and is proud of the refreshing pineapple juice that he offers guests. “And of course, we distil a drop or two of mampoer …”
Plan to expand in 2023According to Jonathan and Margie business is booming and they plan to expand in 2023 by also offering accommodation. “It’ll be overnight accommodation. We’re on the N6. Travellers can pull up, overnight and be on the road first thing the next morning.”
The only way forward
Becoming part of the Zero Carbon Charge network has been incidental to Jonathan’s plans, but he’s glad it’s happened. “I’m not sure if Joubert was really looking for me, or whether he was just there for a tasty pie, because I’d heard he’d been here before …” Jonathan quips before becoming serious again.
“It’s the only way forward if we want to combat climate change.”
Although he feels fortunate to be part of the EV revolution, he is conservatively optimistic. “I don’t think EVs will make a huge impact in the rural areas,” he ventures “and there will be hiccups. But they’ll be ironed out, and then people will see it’s going to work.” He recently received his new Toyota bakkie after a lengthy time on a waiting list.
“I guess my next bakkie will be an EV, if there is such a thing.”
There certainly are EV bakkies, and when they become available in SA, Jonathan will know exactly where to charge it: Wagon Wheel Pies, on the N6, just outside East London.