A New Kind of Yum

The Midlands MagazineSeptember 6, 2023

Market Originator Matt Hogarty takes us behind the scenes of The Midlands Market. We learn a bit about why it was started and meet some of the vendors who make it so special.

A few years ago, many people from our part of the world didn’t know how to pronounce the word “poke” [poh-kay] nor had they taken the risk of tucking into this Hawaiian delicacy – a bowl of raw marinated seafood expertly layered with steamed rice, cut veggies, greens, sesame seeds and delicious sauces. Even if you find yourself turning up your nose at the global food trends, it is evident that we are spoilt for choice right here in the KZN Midlands.


With some of the leading producers of craft beers, hand-crafted cheeses, signature wines and baked goods calling the Midlands home, it was only a matter of time before someone took the step to put this tantalising culinary repertoire on display for the world to taste. Armed with a firm belief that good food needs to be shared, The Midlands Market was launched in October 2022 to share the best of the Midlands food and beverage offering.


Right from the start, the concept of a food market that had its bearings in the ‘handcrafted by locals’ mantra was a hit. This was proved with attendance peaking at 4000 people. This means that after just four markets, with an average spend of R130 per person at each market, nearly half a million rand in revenue is being injected into our local economy.


Our bigger aim was to add to the mounting aspirations of many locals to make our home a destination of choice for tourists and investors, positively contributing towards economic growth in the region. We are hoping that when travellers decide to plan their getaways, events like these will add to the list of reasons to travel here.


The market has an equally important goal of using this platform to develop local entrepreneurs in the food scene. With 22% of vendors being first-time entrepreneurs, this space is proving to be a great incubator for new foodie ventures.


Without further ado, let’s meet a few of the local vendors who contribute to the incredible cuisine found at The Midlands Market…


Known for coffee that sings with your soul and its delicious baked treats and light meals, Legacy Coffee Co is a regular vendor at the market. It was born with the mission and vision of “purchase with a purpose”. The kitchen runs on a Midlands-first supply policy, using only the finest locally sourced ingredients. Legacy is also a social-entrepreneurship enterprise that provides valuable work experience and skills transfer for graduates of the Love Howick and Meta Consulting Hospitality and Entrepreneurial courses.



N-Squared Bakery was started almost three years ago during COVID when there was no other bakery in the Midlands area. They produce top-quality food at affordable prices with ingredients from local farmers and producers. The Midlands Market’s professional approach was the perfect platform for the duo to showcase their products alongside like-minded vendors. They offer visitors a tantalising array of freshly baked goodies from artisanal bread and sourdough pizza bases to decadent pastries and handmade doughnuts.



Bringing authentic flavours, The Indian Cuisine offers home-cooked dishes using tried and trusted family recipes and lots of spices. Therusha explains that there were not many great Indian food spots in the Midlands, so she decided to start her own, fuelled by her passion for delicious, homemade food with bold tastes. What makes The Indian Cuisine unique is that they use the whole palate of flavours – spicy, sour, sweet and hot all at the same time! “It’s a complete world of taste,” says Therusha.


Sakki-Me Sushi is a mobile “business in a box” offering the freshest sushi and platters to treat yourself or for functions. After losing his job during COVID, Sakhile used his 16 years of experience in hospitality to introduce this popular food to the market, making it more accessible to locals. Sakhile chose the Midlands because he believes there are more growth opportunities here than in most places. “It’s the place to be!”


Markets like these have an irresistible charm that transports one back to the old days of trading stores and local bakeries. The Midlands Market seeks to preserve age-old recipes, showcase artisan practices, and provide an opportunity to bring a community face-to-face to enjoy out-of-this-world food under open skies.