A decade after its founding, Stems Fruit was this season rewarded with stone fruit of exceptional quality and strong volumes for its tenth anniversary.
“We are indeed proud and thankful to be able to celebrate this milestone,” says Annelie Haumann, managing director of Stems Fruit.
“Looking back, I can honestly say that we’ve been “pruned and shaped” by the good, but also challenging experiences of the past decade. It ’s the tough years that keep you humble, challenge you to work smarter and to think out of the box.”
The company was officially formed in June 2011 and represent 25 dedicated stone fruit and eight fresh fig growers in the Western Cape. Stems Fruit is based in the heart of South Africa's stone fruit and fig production areas with their head office in Paarl and a technical office in Ceres.
A newly-established nectarine orchard (photos supplied by Stems Fruit)
“Our philosophy in the company is simple: do not overcomplicate things, get the basics right, act swiftly and professionally and be transparent,” she says.
“With an innovative fruit basket consisting of 4.1 million cartons of stone fruit and 150 tons of fresh figs, we have managed to position ourselves over the past ten years as a recognised player in the stone fruit and fresh fig market.”
She notes that their success has come with the support of world class breeders, top-end retailers, dedicated service providers and importers.
“We cherish and acknowledge these partnerships and are grateful for their contribution to our success,” she says, adding that they believe that their success can be attributed to their continuous striving towards excellence and their attention to detail which follows from the passion they share for fruit.
No compromise on quality offering & varietal innovation
“The commodities we handle require from us to work with fewer, but more strategic growers,” says Pierre Rossouw, Stems technical manager.
Right: yellow-fleshed nectarines
“In a challenging season like this year where we faced container shortages, windbound ports and an oversupply on the market, we are reminded of the importance of an uncompromised offer that entails quality, shelf life and varietal innovation that creates demand.“
Stems has access to some of the world’s best stone fruit breeding programmes, and employs a full-time evaluator in order to remain on the forefront of stone fruit varietal innovation.
“Experimental blocks in a number of our production areas enable us to identify varietal winners that not only deliver on taste, shelf life and external appearance but that are also sustainable in terms of yields, packouts and fruit size,” Pierre says.
“A fundamental asset of the sustainability of the company is a highly professional, dedicated and loyal grower supply base, who share our vision,” Annelie notes. “In the Stems grower group we believe in sustainable production, responsible expansion and financial viability built on environmentally sound and advanced farming practices.”
Flamingos fly past stone fruit orchards in Ceres
She points out that their name Stems indicates their supportive role as a link between their growers and the marketplace, providing an effective flow of information to and from the market placing their growers at the forefront of market demands, opportunities and sustainable developments.
She concludes that a Steve Jobs quote resonates with her: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”