South Africa for many years has been the most important source of fruit in the Winter. With the expertise of Trevor McKenzie (owner of Eurafruit SA (Pty) Ltd), a solid base of South African growers has been built up, with Eurafruit providing the necessary technical back up as well as the market of all fruit and coordinating the sale logistics. Since 2000, officially published figures show that over 90% of the countries Blueberry exports were attributable to Eurafruit, and over 95% of these exports were handled at Winterwood Farm.
Melwood Fruits (Pty) Ltd
Winterwood Farms Ltd has now entered into a joint venture with one of Eurafruit’s suppliers, “The Melsetter Trust” and also Eurafruit. The JV company has been named “Melwood (Pty) Ltd”, and the participants will between them provide the growing expertise, logistical and technical knowledge as well the end market. Melwood operate on a 70ha farm called Brandwag near Capetown that forms the centre of its growing operation. The South African business is expected to continue to go from strength to strength, and will continue to expand along with existing Eurafruit suppliers, that have all played a major part in the success of the total business to date.
Dreammaker Fruits (Pty) Ltd
In a separate Blueberry project, Winterwood Farms Ltd using its South African company Dreammaker acquired a further two farms near the town of Portervill in South Africa, about 2 hours North East of Capetown at an altitude ranging from 700-1000m above sea level. The lower farm is called Teeland and the upper farm Zuurvlakte. Together the two farms cover some 853ha. The 1000m altitude of Zuurvlakte brings with it just enough cold required in the Winter to enable the production of the NHB Blueberry varieties that are impossible on the earlier site at Melwood which, together with Teeland concentrates on the SHB types. Dreammaker now has around 80ha of Blueberries in the ground, also producing Raspberries and Redcurrants.
Jean Kotze is the farm manager and can be contacted at email@example.com.
The recent addition of Lushof Farm, a 221 ha early organically certified farm in Saron, also adds organic table and wine grapes to the company portfolio. Around 40ha of table grape vineyards is expected to produce around 100,000 x 4.5kg boxes of table grapes per annum. The wine grape side of the business will be wound down as although the demand for Organic table grapes is strong, there seems less of a premium to justify the costs when it comes to organic wine.
Lushoff was initially purchase by Dreammaker, but now a minority shareholding has been sold to the Workers Trust, set up under the governments BEE initiative (Black Empowerment). This effectively now means that Lushof’s workers have a share in the farm. Although the farm is still managed under the overall Dreammaker umbrella, the farm manager Warren runs the day to day activities.
Dreammaker, now therefore has over 1,000 ha (2,500 acres) of ground to use, including Blueberries, Raspberries, Currants and now organic table and wine grapes. If the Blueberries have a bad year at least we will be able to drown our sorrows now with some of our own wine!
Dreammaker Fruits currently operates the largest area of Blueberries grown in Africa.