Excelsior / Highlands Farm
Excelsior Farm is Located 12km from Villiersdorp, while Highlands Farm is situated a little further in Bo-Doornrivier, about 25km from Villiersdorp. The Jacobs family started farming in August 2001 when they bought Excelsior Farm. As their operations grew, they also acquired Highlands Farm in May of 2018.
The team consists of Janco Jacobs, who majored in Agriculture and previously acted as an agri-adviser. His wife Evelyn, who previously worked as a Technical Manager for an export company for 9 years, also assists him with the management of the Packing Facilities as well as the finances of the farms. The husband-and-wife duo makes a mean team with Janco taking charge of production, whilst Evelyn manages the packing, audits and finances of the business.
They are supported by a strong team with Jaco van der Merwe on Excelsior Farm and Gerhard van Rensburg on Highlands. Elinda van der Merwe is in charge of wages and also acts as the compliance manager. The packing facilities are headed by Ryno Geldenhuys on Excelsior Farm and Chrisan van der Westhuizen on Highlands Farm. All mechanical maintenance and services on machines are done by Rocco van der Westhuizen.
Excelsior Farm has 45 hectares which have been planted and consist mainly of plums, nectarines, apricots, pears and late citrus. A little further down the valley, Highlands has about 120 hectares under plantations, mainly producing wine grapes, plums and citrus. Both Excelsior and Highlands are unique in that both farms are situated in narrow valleys adjacent to each other. Excelsior is at the foot of the Riviersonderend mountains that separate the Breede Valley from the Overberg, while Highlands is in the Risjes Valley at the top of the Doornrivier area.
Each of the production units has a unique microclimate offering as they are situated in a drier area called the Bossieveld (shrub veld) area. This sunnier and drier environment allows for lower fungal pressure, higher sugars and good size on their stone fruit. Both Excelsior and Highlands accumulate around 600 chilling units annually, resulting in good quality fruit harvested from early to late.
Both farms house permanent families and the team strongly believes in the well-being and development of their employees. Wonderful daycare facilities for all children under the age 6 years are provided, with after-school assistance for all learners who need computers and printers. Employees are evaluated every year and are sent on training courses to develop their skills.
The Jacobs family is serious about conservation and strives to reduce the spraying of chemicals on their crops. They have been involved in the SIT-Project (Sterile Insect Technique) as well as mating disruption. They have a very good monitoring system in place. The mulching of the orchards also reduces the need for the use of herbicides.