Strawberry picking at Heldeberg farm in Stellenbosch on a cool and sunny Saturday afternoon was a pleasant relaxing treat. It is situated next to Helderberg Mountain, "Helderberg" means "clear mountain". The farm is run by the fifth generation of Hendrikz/Obermeyer family who have all lived and farmed in the unique Boland Winelands for decades. The farm is about 45km from Cape Town International Airport, 5km from Somerset Mall and 12km from Stellenbosch. For a reasonable fee we picked two containers of sweet strawberries from rows of strawberry bushes. As we walked deeper into the fields we spotted bigger sweeter ones that we promptly tasted with delight. We were encouraged to eat as much as we could. The sweet warm taste of each strawberry drew us to the next one, and the next, until our stomachs and bowls were full. In the background was Helderberg Mountain - green and large, a reminder that we were standing in a valley that stretched for miles. Behind us were grape vines and more strawberries.
Apart from strawberry picking Heldeberg farm has picnic and braai sites which can cater for up to 200 people, this includes parties for children. Come winter time, a cosy fireplace in Die Stal will make your visit an enjoyable one. There are also a number of fun games on offer: Gravel Karts, Combat Games (paintball and laser tag), Clay Pigeon shooting (Laser), Mountain Biking 1 - 7 km, 4X4 trails (12km), Hiking 1,20 km, Bird watching, African drumming (can be arranged in amphitheatre) as well as picnic and braai facilities (barbeque).
As we walked back to the farm house and picnic area, one of the workers who had worked there for many years explained that the farm used to process the strawberries and supply local shops such as Wool Worth. Others were packaged and exported. This had since changed to less processing and more sale of statwberries locally and also for export. This was partly because many farm workers had left or were moved off the farm when workers demanded housing on the farm, a political imperative of the post-apartheid era that sought to ensure that workers had housing and improved conditions of service.