Verdun Estates is a family business in character and tradition. The farm was acquired by Izak and Bertha Wolfaardt in 1918, and it is one of the oldest farms in Prince Alfred’s Hamlet. What started as a mixed farming venture (as was the norm of the region in those years) has now turned to focus on stone fruit, specifically nectarines, since the 1980s.
It is noteworthy that the first Wolfaardt Nectarines graced the markets of the UK as early as 1924. Over the years the tradition of complete family involvement was honoured, and the business is currently in the hands of the 4th generation – Peter Wolfaardt and Georgina Hewitt.
When Verdun’s planting potential was maximized in the early 2000s, the Company looked at acquiring other land with the goal to expand its business. The business has grown so that it now consists of 6 production units, all providing specific microclimates which are most favourable to the nectarines, peaches, flat peaches, plums, apricots and pears grown by the group. Verdun Estates has an aggressive growth and replacement strategy, continually searching for new falvourful varieties to expand their offer. They also continually invest in infrastructure and technology to stay competitive in the global market.
Conservation is also high on the Company’s priority list. Despite abundant good quality water resources, special measures are taken to schedule irrigation to protect this natural source. Alternative, non-chemical plant protection options are continuously investigated. Energy efficiency and the protection of the biodiversity of the land, are further priorities on the estate. 165 Hectares of Windhoek Sandstone Fynbos are still found in the mountainous areas of Verdun.
The management of Verdun Estates recognized the importance of a dedicated, skilled and committed labour force. They are immensely passionate about and committed to the recruitment, training and development of their people. They also believe in healthy and happy communities and continually invest in the well being of their work force and their families.
Land Reform: La Vouere
In 2017, as part of their Land Reform goals and the PALS initiative, Verdun Estates became involved in a farming venture together with Raymond & Mary Koopstad, owners of La Vouere Farm in Ceres. Together they formed a joint venture, of which Verdun holds the minority share. La Vouere has access to many of the new varieties, and the well-established packing and marketing channels through Verdun Estates. This has been a very fruitful partnership for all parties involved.