What makes us leaders?
We are with our growers all the way. From recommending technical advice such as which cultivars are in highest demand and selecting the right budwood that is grafted onto trees to the fruit packed on the shelf of your grocer. We are leaders because our passion is to keep our growers sustainable by providing the right quality fruit that the consumer enjoys.
We are also leaders by the grace of nature – our valley, in an area with a radius of approximately 80 km’s of contiguous cultivation, is hugged by the Skurweberg and Hex River mountains and represents four distinct micro-climates of the Warm-Bokkeveld, Bo-Swaarmoed, Koue-Bokkeveld and Witzenberg Valley. This means come rain, shine, snow or hail, our risk is spread across sufficient climatic zones to guarantee continuity of supply.
Because the cultivation elevation ranges between 450m and 1200m above sea level, our area has the ideal range of temperatures for apple, pear and stone-fruit production.
Preventative pest management already takes place in the form of a cultivation programme, which bolsters the natural power of resistance of the trees to pests and diseases. Should the trees suffer an attack, the unnecessary use of chemical pesticides is avoided by introducing natural adversaries – so-called “useful insects” like ladybugs. This means that treating trees with chemical pesticides can be kept to a minimum.
We also have the most advanced packing and dynamic atmosphere storage facilities for our fruit. The big story is that a Ceres apple in the bag in London in April, is as delicious as an apple on the shelf in Johannesburg in December.
Our advances in Dynamic Controlled Atmosphere (DCA) means we now have the technology to very accurately measure the levels of ethanol, fruit respiration and chlorophyll fluorescence. These indicators of the ripening process allow us to reduce the oxygen level to near point five per cent compared to normal CA conditions of one point five per cent. What this means is that we can maintain fruit with a combination of our DCA and CA technology in its optimum state for longer periods of time, stretching the window in which we deliver fruit to our customers.
The biggest advantage of DCA technology is that you don’t require post-harvest chemicals.