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Tru-Cape’s new book about apples now available as a hardcover.

Annually Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing, the largest exporter of South African apples and pears, celebrates April 17 as the anniversary of the birth of the apple industry in South Africa. This year was no different but plans to launch the latest book by apple experts, Buks Nel, Tru-Cape’s New Variety Expert and Tru-Cape’s Quality Manager, Henk Griessel were scuppered because of Covid-19 lockdown.

Following the maxim, “’n Boer maak ‘n plan” – a farmer makes a plan – Tru-Cape released the e-book version of “The Newcomers – and their Friends”, on April 17 for sale online.

The book is now available as a slender hardcover for purchase from Tru-Cape at R250 for R350 for both the new book as well as the book published a few years ago titled: “Apples in the Early Days of the Cape”.

These two books track the history of apples in the Cape from 1662 to 2020, a full 358 years.  

Currently books are only available from Tru-Cape’s Somerset West offices or via courier, at additional cost. However, the plan is to have books also available from Ceres Fruit Growers and from Two-a-Day in Grabouw, as soon as lockdown restrictions are fully lifted.

Tru-Cape Managing Director, Roelf Pienaar says that rather than a dry, academic work, this book reads like a fascinating whodunnit, uncloaking some of the interesting and sometimes controversial histories of varieties. Who, for example, was the first to plant Golden Delicious in South Africa? Ms Kathleen Murray, you wonder, perhaps or perhaps not. Where did Nicoter, the tree from which Kanzi® apples come get its name? 

The authors write in the introduction: “We hope the information in this little book will spark enthusiasm to record information and history about the apples grown today – we should never again have to find ourselves with records from only a handful of local sources.”

They write about the artist and Stellenbosch fruit breeder Iwan Labuschagne who lead the Apples for Africa programme developing low-chill apples (fruit that doesn’t need the icy temperatures of Europe to blossom) and some of the uphill he received from growers who feared his apples would compete with theirs. 

Although they detail the history of the Braeburn apple, a final note is most telling: “The story of Braeburn would not be complete if one did not mention its importance as a breeding parent in so many breeding programmes around the world such as Kanzi, Jazz and Envy.”

The book is richly illustrated with apple drawings as well as caricatures of people or companies that  have played an important role in the development of that cultivar. Names are not provided and it is left to the reader to see if they can recognise the people in the illustration. 

Call Jessica at Tru-Cape on 021-850-1800 or email to purchase.

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Tru-Cape markets a wide range of apple and pear varietals. We constantly look at expanding our range, and have included fruit and vegetables, like cherries and potatoes, to offer greater value to our growing shareholders.