The last of the white seedless varieties will be harvested in week 47 ending the season with lower volumes than initially estimated. The red seedless harvest commenced this week on Starlight and Flame. Week 47 will see a big increase in the red seedless volumes. The first of the black seedless volumes will also be harvested in week 47 with the first Sable Seedless volumes to follow in week 49. The region experienced its first summer rains in week 46. It was however much less than last season and have not adversely affected the quality or quantity of the product.
The harvest season is extremely late (about 10 days) compared to last season. This unforeseen occurrence is due to the prolonged cooler weather experience during the last few weeks. There is still a positive expectation for the volumes from this region and the excitement is high for good quality and size. We trust the region to be in full production between two and three weeks from now. There is sufficient water and forecasted temperatures for week 47 are high into the 30’s(°C). The first black seedless varieties should be harvested from week 49, but this will be only limited volumes.
The majority of varieties in the Western Cape are proving to be 4 – 7 days later in the development cycle than they were at this time last season. The area experience extreme heat during previous weeks, but have seen cooler temperatures during week 46. The vines are experiencing excellent growth. Expectations here are also high for good volumes and we’re delighted with the quality of the product through the preparation phases. Another exciting prospect is the numerous new varieties that will come into commercial volumes this season.
Late springtime rainfall has seen Western Cape dam levels rise slightly, but water supply will remain a challenge to manage this season. It’s still not possible to predict the impact of the water shortages at this stage. The drought has created another opportunity to re-establish the resilience and innovation of South African growers. New farming methods were tested and implemented to ensure that the South African quality and taste will not be jeopardized despite these challenging circumstances.
SOUTH AFRICAN FUN FACTS
In 2012, Table Mountain was inaugurated as one of the world’s ‘New 7 Wonders of Nature’. Carbon dating shows Table Mountain to be older than the Andes, the Alps, the Rocky Mountains and the Himalayas. And at the foot of Table Mountain, the iconic Cape Town was voted as the 8th friendly’s city in the World by Traveler Magazine.