Apple Season
Fruit Farming in South Africa

The earliest apples produced in South Africa are harvested in the Northern Provinces during December and the season gears up into full swing from late January and ending in late May.

©Louise Brodie
Pink lady apples.

Although the apple picking season ends in late May, the harvested apples are stored safely for weeks in controlled atmosphere conditions and are sold locally, and to export markets until November. This means that apples are available for most of the year.

Controlled atmosphere storage of apples is a process of bulk storage of apples in holding rooms where the temperature, humidity and mix of atmospheric gasses in the holding room are controlled to create “hibernation” conditions for the apples. The gasses are oxygen and carbon dioxide mixed to a specified ratio. 

The South African apple season is counterseasonal to the Northern Hemisphere apple season, which means that South Africa is able to supply the northern hemisphere with apples outside their traditional late summer apple season. As the practice of controlled atmosphere storage is also utilised in Europe, the new season of South African apples often competes on the European markets with controlled atmosphere stored European apples.

By Louise Brodie