Know Your Farmer

Our first commercial plantings were made in South Africa in 2013.  Since then we have made a significant investment in our South African blueberry production with a select group of incredibly talented, licensed growers. We have a grower team of 26 strong!  And a combined acreage of no less than 1000 ha – now that’s something to be proud of!

Meet Some of Our Growers

Dave Horak

Lulamanzi Berries

A geologist by profession, farmer by default, Dave Horak looks after OZblu’s Lulamanzi Berries in the North West Province. Here, altogether 22,5 ha of farmland carries all the new OZblu blueberries.

 

Father of Roger Horak, the co-founder and global CEO of United Exports, Dave worked as a geologist for 32 years in mines around Johannesburg. His love for the outdoors led to him becoming involved in the production of stone fruit in 1990, and since then farming became his full time “hobby”.

 

My love for the land drives me as a farmer. Blueberry farming has given me a new lease on life” says Dave.

 

Their family farm Lulamanzi, employs 50 permanent staff members and 160 to 180 seasonal workers during their peak season.

 

When Dave is not farming, he tries to get to the nearest golf course for a round. “I love my golf,” he says.

OZblu farmer Dave Horak of Lulumanzi Berries

Dave Horak

Lulumanzi Berries

A geologist by profession, farmer by default, Dave Horak looks after OZblu’s Lulamanzi Berries in the North West Province. Here, altogether 22,5 ha of farmland carries all the new OZblu varieties.

 

Father of Roger Horak, the co-founder and global CEO of United Exports, Dave worked as a geologist for 32 years in mines around Johannesburg. His love for the outdoors led to him becoming involved in the production of stone fruit in 1990, and since then farming became his full time “hobby”.

 

My love for the land drives me as a farmer. Blueberry farming has given me a new lease on life” says Dave.

 

Their family farm Lulamanzi, employs 50 permanent staff members and 160 to 180 seasonal workers during their peak season.

 

When Dave is not farming, he tries to get to the nearest golf course for a round. “I love my golf,” he says.

OZblu farmer Eben Wepener of Wolseley Berries

Eben Wepener

Wolseley Berries

Eben Wepener is a proud OZblu farmer in Wolseley – a small town in the upper Breede River Valley region of the Western Cape province of South Africa. An area perfectly suited to growing OZblu’s due to its excellent water quality as well as soil structure.

“The challenge to produce good quality berries itself is what drives me as a farmer. Along with the satisfaction of seeing how a plant grows from a seedling to a big bush in less than two years. Managing fruit size and taste for specific markets and receiving positive feedback from customers about the quality of my blueberries is what gives me pleasure. Farming is my passion and I strive to be the best blueberry grower in our company.”

 

When Eben isn’t out in his fields you can find him fishing, hiking, and baking… with blueberries of course!

Eben Wepener

Wolseley Berries

OZblu farmer Eben Wepener of Wolseley Berries

Eben Wepener is a proud OZblu farmer in Wolseley – a small town in the upper Breede River Valley region of the Western Cape province of South Africa. An area perfectly suited to growing OZblu’s due to its excellent water quality as well as soil structure.

“The challenge to produce good quality berries itself is what drives me as a farmer. Along with the satisfaction of seeing how a plant grows from a seedling to a big bush in less than two years. Managing fruit size and taste for specific markets and receiving positive feedback from customers about the quality of my blueberries is what gives me pleasure. Farming is my passion and I strive to be the best blueberry grower in our company.”

 

When Eben isn’t out in his fields you can find him fishing, hiking, and baking… with blueberries of course!

Edward Pauer

Metsi Berries

Metsi Berries in the Limpopo province is the farm of OZblu blueberry grower Eduard Pauer, a former tobacco, potato and corn farmer.  He started planting blueberries on his farm, in collaboration with OZblu. Currently, he has 27ha of OZblu blueberries under shade netting and still growing.

 

“I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning and into the fields,” says Eduard who stopped all his tobacco operations eleven years ago because it was no longer feasible.  It was at this stage that he met OZblu founder and global CEO, Roger Horak, who convinced him to direct his energy towards blueberries.

 

“We are in our second year of blueberry production, and we are convinced that we will see our investment grow year on year,” says Pauer.

 

Metsi Berries now employs 45 people on a permanent basis. Eduard and his team are currently upgrading and renovating the accommodation facilities on the farm also to provide facilities for seasonal workers during harvest time.

OZblu farmer Eduard Pauer of Metsi Berries

Edward Pauer

Metsi Berries

Metsi Berries in the Limpopo province is the farm of OZblu blueberry grower Eduard Pauer, a former tobacco, potato and corn farmer.  He started planting blueberries on his farm, in collaboration with OZblu. Currently, he has 27ha of OZblu blueberry varieties under shade netting and still growing.

 

“I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning and into the fields,” says Eduard who stopped all his tobacco operations eleven years ago because it was no longer feasible.  It was at this stage that he met OZblu founder and global CEO, Roger Horak, who convinced him to direct his energy towards blueberries.

 

“We are in our second year of blueberry production, and we are convinced that we will see our investment grow year on year,” says Pauer.

 

Metsi Berries now employs 45 people on a permanent basis. Eduard and his team are currently upgrading and renovating the accommodation facilities on the farm also to provide facilities for seasonal workers during harvest time.

Carel van der Merwe

Waterberg Berries

Traditional and inadequate housing structures are making way for newly upgraded housing facilities on Waterberg Berries where OZblu estate manager Carel van der Merwe and his team had settled during 2017. “When I arrived here, there were no toilets for the farm workers, and most of the housing structures were in ruins,” said Carel.

 

Four of the original farms’ workers had stayed on the farm when Carel took over and together with 12 newly appointed permanent farm assistants they are busy renovating and upgrading the housing structures to provide upgraded houses and ablutions.

 

Carel says that they sold the traditional tobacco irrigation systems and kilns and replaced them with new fertigation equipment and systems that are suitable for blueberry production. Altogether 50ha of blueberries had been planted on Waterberg Berries at the beginning of this year.

 

Carel loves challenges and tackling new projects, such as Waterberg Berries. “We are a great team, and Waterberg Berries is part of a dynamic organisation from which we receive immense support,” says Carel.

 

In his spare time, Carel makes knives and does bow-and-arrow shooting.

Carel Van Der Merwe

Waterberg Berries

Traditional and inadequate housing structures are making way for newly upgraded housing facilities on Waterberg Berries where OZblu estate manager Carel van der Merwe and his team had settled during 2017. “When I arrived here, there were no toilets for the farm workers, and most of the housing structures were in ruins,” said Carel.

 

Four of the original farms’ workers had stayed on the farm when Carel took over and together with 12 newly appointed permanent farm assistants they are busy renovating and upgrading the housing structures to provide upgraded houses and ablutions.

 

Carel says that they sold the traditional tobacco irrigation systems and kilns and replaced them with new fertigation equipment and systems that are suitable for blueberry production. Altogether 50ha of blueberries had been planted on Waterberg Berries at the beginning of this year.

 

Carel loves challenges and tackling new projects, such as Waterberg Berries. “We are a great team, and Waterberg Berries is part of a dynamic organisation from which we receive immense support,” says Carel.

 

In his spare time, Carel makes knives and does bow-and-arrow shooting.