HORTICULTURAL HISTORY IN THE MAKING
Professional Horticultural Consulting (PHC) commenced as an enterprise almost 2 decades ago when it began the management of a strawberry nursery while consulting to High Value Horticulture. During this period the nursery was acquired and grew rapidly through the production of strawberry plants for growers throughout Africa.
In 2008 its founder, Dr. Gavin Linsley-Noakes formed a partnership with Francois Roets and together they increased production from about 1 million strawberry plants to over 7 million and added other berries to their offering
In 2015 an additional farm was purchased in Brandwag, near Mossel Bay for the production of quality berry fruit for export and local market consumption, under the brand name “Garden of Eden Berries”.
PHC has a highly trained and motivated top management team, running 2 nursery and 2 production farms as well as consulting, breeding, and coaching and training berry growers throughout Africa.
Although PHC is world-renowned as a strawberry plug plant producer, their field of expertise span the entire scope of any high value horticultural endeavor
INTRODUCING FRUIT PAR EXCELLENCE
The first modern strawberry was grown in France during the late 18th century, from a cross between a white strawberry from Chile and a wild North American strawberry. Prior to this, wild strawberries and cultivated selections from wild strawberry species were the common source of the fruit.
The strawberry fruit was mentioned in ancient Roman literature in reference to its medicinal use. The French began taking the strawberry from the forest to their gardens for harvest in the 1300s. Charles V, France’s king from 1364 to 1380, had 1,200 strawberry plants in his royal garden. In the early 1400s western European monks were using the wild strawberry in their illustrated manuscripts. The strawberry is found in Italian, Flemish, German art, and English miniatures.
By the 1500s references of cultivation of the strawberry became more common. People began using it for its supposed medicinal properties and botanists began naming the different species. In England the demand for regular strawberry farming had increased by the mid-1500s. Instructions for growing and harvesting strawberries showed up in writing in 1578.
FROM HERE TO ANYWHERE
There has never been a better time to grow strawberries in Africa than at present. We have excellent varieties to choose from and the combination of infra short day-, short day- (June bearers) and day neutral varieties enable existing growers to extend their harvest period and for new growers in previously marginal growing locations, to also enter the industry.
The short day varieties Festival, Orly, Sabrosa and Splendor combine productivity, quality and ease of growing. The day neutral varieties Albion, Monterey and San Andreas deliver a more moderate, but greatly extended production season, making the harvest period less condensed and delivering quality, large fruit of export standard. There are great varieties in the pipeline and the Southern African Strawberry Growers Association has made great strides with plant certification, chemical registration, production research and packaging.