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SOGA Growers

Organic

About SOGA Organic

SOGA ORGANIC® is a proudly South African company located in the heart of the fertile Sundays River Valley.  All fresh fruit is supplied by the four SOGA (Sundays Organic Growers Association) members who all farm near the packing & processing facilities. Any fresh fruit that does not meet our strict organic export standards is sent to our citrus processing plant in Kirkwood where we produce premium single-strength (Not from Concentrate – NFC) frozen juice and essential oils.

SOGA ORGANIC® strives to exceed customer expectations by offering premium quality products at the most competitive price. Wholesale and Retail products are GROWN, PRODUCED and PACKAGED by SOGA ORGANIC.

Paul Marais

SOGA Grower

Paul Marais is Managing Director of SOGA Organic and owns 3 farms within the SOGA Group – Olifantskop, Hippo Pools and Valencia Farms.

“I grew up on a very small wine farm in the Boland town of Wellington. I always wanted to farm but never had the means to do so, so I pursued a career in the banking industry.

After 24 years, in 2002, a friend and partner of mine, presented the opportunity for us to purchase some farming land in Addo and Kirkwood.

So, in 2003 I packed up and bid Gauteng farewell and headed to the Eastern Cape. There I found two farm managers who shared my passion for farming.

From the outset I was determined to farm with certified organic citrus. It was not easy and we almost lost everything we had during the first five years, but I held unto the dream of farming in a sustainable manner and as close as possible to nature.

God appointed us as custodians of this earth and we have the responsibility to farm it in a sustainable manner.

After 21 years our farms are doing well. There’s a different vibe on our farms and the orchards are alive with nature’s creatures. We have a completely closed system on the farm and everything we need to make compost comes from the farm.

“For the first time in my life, I’m doing exactly what I was meant to be doing.”

Marius Jürgens

SOGA Grower

Marius Jürgens is the Production Director of SOGA Organic and grew up on a farm in Kirkwood. He studied engineering and worked for 5 years at Unilever in Durban.

In 2002 he started farming with his dad, Lionel Jürgens. He is married to Trudie and has three children.

“As long as I can remember, sustainability has been part of me. My great-grandfather and his father started farming with citrus just outside Kirkwood. They did not have pesticides or chemical fertilisers.

They picked citrus, packaged it in wooden boxes, sent it with the train to Port Elizabeth and onto a steam ship to Europe. There was not even a cold chain and the fruit still arrived in a good condition overseas. I am trying to follow in their footsteps.  Producing strong, healthy fruit in a natural way. Building the soil so that my children and their children can still farm here.

“Organic farming is all about sustainability.”

Johnny Ferreira

SOGA Grower

I’ve been farming since 1983 and have an abundance of experience in farming. I’ve seen it all! Apart from organic citrus I farm with organic beef, sheep, pigs, bees and pastured chickens. My enjoyment in life comes from Farming, Family, Fishing, Friends, Flying and Good food. My garden also produces an abundance of fruit & vegetables.

When I started conventional farming 40 years ago, we only sprayed poison once a season on our trees in spring. Now farmers are spraying poisons for at least 5 months of the year to sustain a crop to maturity! I realized that this cannot be the right way to farm and certainly isn’t sustainable.

After a long period, testing conflicts of interest in our industry I realized the importance of soil life & health and how that ultimately leads to healthy plants, animals & people. Salt fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides & weed killers are destroying our soils and our environment as well as our and our children’s’ health!

Nutrient density in plants is what keeps pests & diseases at bay and by consuming these foods we become healthy and independent of drugs & pharmaceuticals.

Food is certainly not healthy due to the poison in it! So, why poison your customers’ food?

“I believe man has a God given purpose to be a custodian of our environment for future generations – restoration agriculture & organic living is a sustainable means to that end and farmers have a particular responsibility in that regard.”

Keith Finnemore

SOGA Grower

Keith Finnemore is the Technical Director of SOGA Organic.

“After school I qualified as a Pharmacist, but soon thereafter realized that this was not the life for me. When travelling around the UK and Europe in the 1970’s I landed up on a couple of organic farms and was fascinated by the concept of organic farming.

I went back to University and studied Horticulture.

My wife and I bought our farm in Addo in 1996 and farmed it conventionally for 4 years.

In 1998 I poisoned myself when spraying methidathion, an organophosphate pesticide.

This was the motivation to move away from toxic synthetic chemicals, and in 2000 the farm started converting to organic production.

The first few years were tough financially and emotionally, as we really did not know how to farm organically.

We have taught ourselves virtually everything we know as there are very few experienced organic farmers around from whom to get advice.

My wife and I also run a Guest House (add link to Rosedale B&B) on our farm Rosedale, which is 11km from the Addo Elephant National Park.

I enjoy taking guests on guided tours of the farm & citrus orchards and sharing with them how I farm organically.”

“The challenges and satisfaction of organic farming have made the last 24 years the most interesting of my life.”

Fresh Produce

We are perfectly situated to grow a wide range of citrus cultivars. Our hot summer days are always tempered with cooling afternoon breezes off the sea. Winters are mild, but with warm days and cold nights, which induce fully coloured fruits with tender flesh. The best lemons in the world are grown at between 30 – 35 degrees N and S.

Our valley, at 33 degrees S is perfectly situated for the production of good-quality lemons. An abundance of irrigation water allows us to water our trees when they need it.

Cultivar Pack Week Months
Lemons 16-39 Begin April – End September
Navels 20-30 Mid May – End July
Valencias 31-39 End July – End September
Ruby Grapefruit 36-38 Mid September
Mandarins 22-28 End May – Mid July

We are the world’s first producers of organic seedless lemons.

Any fruit that does not meet our strict export standard for external blemishes is sent to our processing plant where we produce premium single-strength frozen juice and essential oils.

Our farms and packhouse are certified organic by the Control Union. All have Globalgap and Nature’s Choice Accreditation. In addition, our packhouse conforms to BRGS ((Brand Reputable Compliance Global Standard) certification.