Harvest time

The 2023 harvest season is in full swing! Our February season kicked off with Panorama Golden, Royal Gala strains, Flash Galas, Cheeky and Packham’s Triumph. We are privileged to operate several farms in the beautiful and fertile Overberg region, where the growing conditions are perfect. The summers are hot and glorious and the autumn months of March and April are arguably the nicest – not too hot, not too cold. We get ample rain and even have snow in the winter months between June and August.

The parameters we use to determine the optimum harvest time are pressure, sugar levels, size and starch conversion. When it comes to harvesting apples and pears, we have a time window of three weeks in most cases.

We take great care in growing and handling our fruit to ensure the highest quality and taste for our customers, and eventually consumers all over the world. Our apples are harvested only by hand as they are very sensitive to bruising. The best way to pick an apple is to cup it in the palm of the hand, lift it up, then give it a gentle twist until it comes away. Each apple should detach with its stalk intact.

When apple trees are cultivated commercially in orchards, with sophisticated pollination, fertilisation, irrigation and plant protection methods, they can produce around 70 tonnes per hectare in a season.

Sorting must take place immediately after harvesting, because damaged apples release ethylene quicker and this can affect the rest of the fruit in the bin. Our optical pre-sorter can sort roughly 300 tonnes of fruit per day, sorting each apple according to weight or size, colour and cosmetic quality specification.