Verdun Estates is in character and tradition a family business. The farm was founded by JC Goosen in 1851 and acquired by Izak and Bertha Wolfaardt in 1918, it is one of the oldest farms in Prince Alfred’s Hamlet. Started as a mixed farming venture as was the norm in this region, it has turned it’s focus to Stone Fruit, and specifically Nectarines, since the 1980’s. It is noteworthy that the first Wolfaardt Nectarines graced the markets of the UK in as early as 1924. Over the years the tradition of complete family involvement was honoured, and currently it is run by the third and fourth generation of the Wolfaardt family. Adrian Wolfaardt heads up the team, together with his wife Lesley who acts as Financial Director. Their son Peter takes responsibly for production, while his wife Helen-Elize is managing the local packhouse. Georgina, their daughter, takes full responsibility for the export packhouse.
When Verdun became fully planted in the early 2000’s, the company acquired Edenville farm in 2007 and Welverdiend farm in 2013 in order to expand their business.
With the diversity in micro-climates between the different farms, Verdun Estates have managed to prolong their season. They place great emphasis on varietal selections, and travel abroad to find unique varieties with exceptional flavors which delivers on shelf life, yields, fruit size and that can be farmed sustainably. The company has an aggressive orchard replacement program in place and strive to compete internationally as one of the industry leaders.
Conservation is also high on the company’s priority list. Despite abundant good quality water resources, special measures are taken to carefully schedule irrigation to protect this natural source. Alternative, non-chemical plant protection options are continuously investigated. Energy efficiency and the protection of the bio-diversity of the land, are further priorities on the estate. 165 Hectares of Windhoek Sandstone Fynbos is still found on the mountainous areas on Verdun.
The management of Verdun Estates recognized the importance of a dedicated, skilled and committed labour force. Investments in training are made to ensure that their staff are adequately equipped. Opportunities are giving to staff through an adult education program ABET, and annual compulsory trainings are kept up to date.
Verdun Estates are also involved in various housing and day care projects – empowering their personnel to become home owners and providing safe and continuous care for the children of their workers.