At a time when we were looking to expand our growing to provide raspberries to Northern Hemisphere customers all year round, we began scouting for the perfect Southern Hemisphere location. This search brought us to the picturesque Hemel-en-Aarde (Heaven & Earth) Valley in the Western Cape. Located about 10km as the crow flies from the Atlantic coast, and just outside the coastal town of Hermanus, this valley is characterised by summers 4-5 degrees cooler than nearby regions and proved to be the ideal location. Having grown from a half-hectare test plot, the farm now covers an area of 65 hectares in total and acts as the vibrant nucleus for all of our South African operations.
Located on South Africa’s Garden Route, in the gentle dairy and nursery stock growing area of George, Haygrove Eden is situated about 350 km from our Hermanus site. The farm began operating in 2010 to spread weather- and drought-risk and to meet a growing South African berry demand. In addition to raspberries and blueberries, Eden also focuses on growing strawberries all year round.
75% owned by Haygrove, and 25% owned by the Charlestown Community and the South African National Empowerment Fund, Haygrove Amajuba was established in 2014 in a small town with more than 90% unemployment. Today, we have taken it from employing just 7 staff, to employing over 300 at peak season. The site is located at high elevation, north of the Drakensberg mountains, near the town of Volksrust. Haygrove Amajuba benefits from cooler winters, compared to our other South African sites, and warm summers provide the ideal microclimate for sweet-eating blackberries and early-spring raspberries.
In 2012 we built our own tissue culture laboratory at Eden. Haygrove Small Beginnings is designed to improve the quality and consistency of our plants, and the business, which can produce a staggering 1.5 million plants a year, is run by our partner Brenda Vermaak.