In this edition of our newsletter, we are pleased to share the successes of the ARRA season in Southern Africa and we look forward to another successful one next year.
“This 2020/2021 ARRA season has been a successful one for us at TopFruit. The season truly put our varieties to the test in the Limpopo region, as well as the Northern Cape, due to the rain during the harvest” says AJ Jansen van Vuuren, Table Grape Manager at TopFruit, ARRA and Early Sweet agent for Southern Africa.
AJ reports that the team is proud to say that all the ARRA™ Varieties held their own throughout the challenging weather. The feedback from producers indicates that on arrival, the ARRA varieties from the early areas have been excellent so far.
The annual vineyard block competition was established in the Hex River in 1976 and it is the oldest competition of its kind in the Southern Africa grape industry. Producers enter their best vineyard blocks which are then judged by a selected group of independent table grapes experts. Excitingly, and the ARRA Varieties won three places during this year’s competition.
ARRA Passion Fire™ (ARRA 29) made headlines for being the 2021 winner of the block competition for young vines, won by Villion Farms. This block is managed by Brinford Julie and from the photos, you can see his meticulous attention to detail.
Along with Villion Farm, the ARRA 29 block from Pieter Engelbrecht in Bethal Farm also won, coming in third place in the category for established blocks, Niel Bothma achieved fourth place with his block of ARRA 15 in his Idlewinds farm
The success of ARRA Passion Fire™ (ARRA 29) can also be seen at Southern Fruit Growers as reported by Tiaan Hugo, Production Coordinator. Beautiful bunches and large, crisp cherry-colored berries can be admired in the below pictures.
Charles Jordan, Director at Consortium Fruit, also reports his success with the ARRA varieties: “This season has been very good for us so far. The quality and production of our ARRA 15 have been successful and the arrivals are also looking very well. We planted ARRA 15 in 2019 and this year was our first harvest. The production amounted to 2,650 of 4.5kg cartons per hectare for these young vines, grown in accordance with the TopFruit protocol. We harvested in week 2 and packed in punets for the EU.”
Charles Jordan continues: “We have now received our first quality reports and it is looking very good, all green arrivals! I think the method of harvesting and cold chain management that we use proved to be successful.”
Mr. Jordan concludes: “We harvest in the early mornings from about 02:00, to ensure that the grapes are in the packhouse by 07:00. This is done when temperatures are low so that we can ensure quality. The Brix at harvest was between 17 and 20 and the average size between 19 and 22. We have now planted ARRA 29 and we are looking at some of the other ARRA varieties as well.”
Chief Operating Officer at TopFruit, Hein Coetzee, sums up the season and reports: “Up until now, the 2020/2021 grape season in Southern Africa is proving to be a very interesting season where the unique characteristics of the ARRA™ range are proving to be very advantageous to growers”.
Hein adds: “With extremely high volumes of summer rainfall in the northern provinces of South Africa and the Orange River area, the ARRA Varieties proved to be more rain resistant than most other varieties. In Namibia and the Western Cape province of South Africa, they also reiterated the fact that they are fertile and production-friendly. ARRA Passion Fire™ proved to be the star of the 2020/2021 season in terms of production, quality, and market acceptance”.
The Team at TopFruit concludes this season overview and reports:” We hope that the 2020/21 season will end well for all involved in the South African table grape industry. This season is very important to us at TopFruit as it sees the largest volume of ARRA 29 ever exported and we eagerly await the market feedback. We are excited about the coming season as large volumes of ARRA from all over Southern Africa start coming into production. Our hope is that it will exceed all grower expectations”.
Don’t miss out on these other newsletters: