Despite recent hail damage in the region and one of the toughest years on record, South Africa’s Ceres Fruit Growers (CFG) met Friday, November 18 at Kaleo Manor to celebrate the best apple and pear producers in typical farming fashion –  always looking ahead to better times.

Frederick Odendaal, Manager at Growers Direct@CFG, a division within CFG that looks after the interests of shareholders who dedicate their entire crop to Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing, which is the largest exporter of South African apples and pears, says that producers compete for the various trophies which are recognised in the industry as awarding the best of the best.

“We mark fruit out of 100 points taking five different criteria into consideration that have been developed over many years. Trophies, for the individual cultivars are awarded and then, the producer with highest total number of points, is awarded the prestigious Chairman’s Trophy. We announce the top four in each category and then the winner,” he explains.

Three additional trophies, one for the most accurate crop harvest prediction and two for highest income per hectare for apples and pears respectively, are also awarded.

Odendaal says that the trophy for the best producer of Bon Chretien pears went to Verdun Estates, Palmyra while the trophy for the best Abate Fetel pears went to Welgemeen Boerdery.

The trophy for the best Cheeky was awarded to PE Von Buddenbrock at Rhodene. The trophy for the best Forelle went to Eselfontein, a particular honour as this is the most produced pear variety and, consequently, the toughest competition.

Dennekruin farm, a Witzenberg Properties entity, won the trophy for the best Packham’s Triumph.

The trophy for the top Rosemarie pears went to Aurora, the first of a number of awards that would follow. Wakkerstroom, a RJF Farm, won for the best Mahana Red apples and the best Fuji apples.

The best Golden Delicious producer was Welgemeen Farm, another special honour as Golden Delicious is the single largest apple cultivar. The best Granny Smith came from Cedro Farm’s Fairfield while the best Kanzi award went to Welgemeen Farm’s Slagboom, a second award for the group.

The award for the best Panorama Golden apples and their second win of the night went to Aurora.

Alhambra, another Witzenberg Properties farm, won for the best Royal Gala and for the best Royal Beaut apples, notching two more wins.

Laastedrif Agri won for the best Rosy Glow. The third Witzenberg Properties win but, this time for Die Eike farm, was the trophy for the best Red Apples.

Aurora’s third win was for the best Harvest Prediction and then a forth trophy for winning the best income per hectare for pears.

Cedro, in a second win, was awarded for reaching the highest income per hectare for apples.

With four individual wins, Aurora, farmed by Mario du Plessis and mother Kitty, won the Chairman’s Trophy as overall winner.

“Our warm congratulations go to all the winners as we look ahead to what we hope and believe will be a good season,” Odendaal ends.

Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing, Managing Director, Roelf Pienaar, says everyone in the supply chain is now focussed on the year ahead. “Well done to all the producers on these excellent results and a special congratulations to Aurora Farm for their prestigious win.” Pienaar ends.

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