The Barnyard At Bonanza:
Unplugged Creativity at the Bonanza Farmers Market
In 2017, the Bonanza Estate emerged as a prominent destination in Lusaka, captivating golf enthusiasts with its 18-hole well-manicured golf course. Over time, the Estate expanded its allure, incorporating the esteemed Ciêla Resort and Spa, the Lusaka International Convention Centre, and a Craft Beer Brewery into its landscape. These four properties have come to epitomise a contemporary era in Zambian architecture and social offerings. However, it is the Estate’s latest addition that truly caught my attention, as it artfully curates a distinctive retail experience catering to Bonanza’s local and international patrons.
In response to the growing demand for a gathering place where local businesses could unite, infuse vibrancy, and enhance existing services, Bonanza introduced the charming Barnyard in 2022. This thoughtfully crafted space is a hub for four unique enterprises: African Butterfly, Local, Wright House, and Chena Art Gallery. Here, these businesses come together, fostering a sense of community while adding value to the area and enriching the overall experience for visitors.
At the African Butterfly, you’ll find a delightful array of fresh, organic farm produce, delicious preserves and wholesome homemade treats. For an exceptional shopping experience, stop by Local, the charming gift shop that proudly features an exquisite selection of handmade artisanal goods sourced from several talented local vendors. Among their offerings are artisan bags, jewelry, pottery, cards, woven goods, and various household items.
If you’re searching for home decor and bespoke furniture, look no further than the Wright House. Their showroom is a treasure trove filled with character and unique pieces that tempt you to browse a little longer. Meanwhile, the vibrant Chena Art Gallery showcases the finest work of different local and international artists, ranging from paintings and photography to ceramics and sculptures. It’s a haven for those seeking to immerse themselves in creativity and artistic excellence.
Whether you’re dropping by for a delicious bite to eat, looking for the perfect gift, or simply wishing to immerse yourself in a world of creativity, the Barnyard has something to offer everyone. This charming space brings together a diverse collection of businesses contributing to its vibrant and welcoming atmosphere.
Unbeknownst to me, the Barnyard held more than just a collection of shops. When I learned that they also host a Farmers Market once every month, I decided to venture into the suburbs of Ngwerere to experience it firsthand. The journey to the Barnyard was a breeze as I coasted down a tranquil open tarred road, passing several picturesque farms while the vast sky stretched endlessly above me.
What immediately struck me when I arrived was the intimate and cozy ambiance the setting at the Barnyard exuded. The flagship stores were thoughtfully arranged around a towering, majestic tree at the courtyard’s center. The vendor’s stalls weaved between the buildings and encircled the tree, creating a scene that evoked the warm spirit of communal gathering spaces. It felt like stepping into a tranquil oasis where the blend of nature and commerce harmonised beautifully.
The Banyard vendors offered everything from thrift clothing, stationary, textiles and sustainably-made furniture for children to dried farm produce, baked goods, freshly squeezed fruit juice and artisan cheese. The presence of these new vendors was a refreshing addition, perfectly complementing the flagship spaces. Observing their creative processes and learning more about their unique offerings was fascinating. As the day unfolded, the gentle breeze blowing past the African Butterfly carried the comforting aromas of simmering chicken stew and freshly cut veggies, which transported me back to my grandmother’s kitchen, where she masterfully prepared delicious meals. The scent was enchanting, and it only intensified my appetite. Unfortunately, amid the tempting selection of appetizers and desserts, my sweet tooth succumbed to the irresistible treats, causing me to miss out on sampling the mouthwatering chicken stew and freshly cut veggies. Nonetheless, the experience at the Barnyard was a delightful journey through a tapestry of sights, scents, and flavours, leaving me with a lingering sense of satisfaction and a desire to return for more culinary adventures.
Surprisingly, the Farmers Market was delightfully less crowded than I had anticipated. It embraced the essence of what a perfect Saturday should feel like – a chance to unplug from a week of hard work. Maison Studio hosted a captivating candle-making class, while Ethnix provided an engaging mosaic art workshop. These unique experiences added an extra layer of charm to the Market, beautifully complementing the diverse offerings from other vendors. Coupled with the sounds of a local musician gently serenading us as we collectively engaged in retail and culinary therapy, the experience definitely provided a good change in pace for this busy bee.
As I bid farewell to the Market, I realized that perhaps, the experience wasn’t merely about buying fresh farm produce, like a traditional farmers market, but rather, a curated effort to support artists from diverse disciplines, encompassing food, art, and music, to create a sense of community and showcase an unplugged, unique retail experience that showcased the true essence of what Zambia has to offer.
If you are not already a regular, I wholeheartedly encourage you to schedule a weekend getaway. Pack a book, embark on a serene drive out of town, and immerse yourself in the relaxing experience the Market offers. The quiet drive and enriching experience are well worth it.
- The Bonanza Farmer’s Market is free and takes place every second Saturday of the month from 10am to 3pm.
- Vendors are welcome to exhibit and can contact the Estate via their website to book a stall.
- The Barnyard is situated opposite The Brewery at the Bonanza Estate.
- Children’s entertainment such as jumping castle, face-painting and wagon rides are available at every farmers market.