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Produce South Africa Apples
Variety Fuji, Top red, Royal Gala, Sundowner and Pink Lady
Common Name Apples, Common apples and Paradise apple
Size 7 to 8.3 centimeters in diameter
Packing Specifications Mesh and plastic bags, 15 kg boxes and crates
Season Late December to November
Transport Conditions High humidity, low oxygen, and controlled Carbon dioxide levels
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‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is a common saying, and maybe one of the reasons why apples are one of the most popular and widely produced fruits. In agreement with this saying, South Africa apples are very nutritious with good fiber content. The fruit and skin are edible, but the core from stem to bottom gets typically thrown away. They are eaten raw, used in salads, used in baking, juiced to make apple juice, cider, or juice concentrate as well as cooked for jam and sauces. Apples can also be canned or dried.

Central Asia is the origin of the apple tree, and it has been grown for years in Asia and Europe. Apples have both religious and mythological significance in many cultures. 

The South Africa apple tree stands at between 1.8 to 4.6 meters tall, and the leaves are dark green and oval. The flowers, which are 3 to 4 centimeters, are white with a pink tinge that fades in time and has five petals. For commercial purposes, farmers strive to grow fruits with a diameter of between 7 to 8.3 centimeters. The skin of ripe apples is typically red, green, yellow, and pink depending on the cultivars, and the flesh is a pale yellowish-white color, although pink and yellow flesh do occur.

Apples are produced throughout South Africa, with the Western Cape being the most abundant apple production region that accounts for more than half of the country’s apple production. The production regions are around the towns of Ceres, Wolseley, Villiersdorp, and Elgin. The Langkloof region produces 20% of the country’s apples. Additionally, other areas produce apples but on a smaller scale like the provinces of Mpumalanga, Limpopo, and Free State. These regions are South Africa’s earliest production regions as they start producing in late December. The trees get planted at a density of 1536 trees per hectare. 

South Africa has been producing commercial apples since the 1880s, with the apple industry mainly aimed at the export market. The country has worked at supplying the South African market and its neighboring countries with high-quality fruits. Its biggest market in Africa at 30%, closely followed by the Far East and Asia, the United Kingdom since 1890, the Middle East, and Europe.

The South Africa apples tree requires well-drained soil that is moderately rich and retains moisture and full sunlight (direct daily sun for six hours or more). Trees get planted about 15 to 18 feet apart of each other, and most thrive in regions where the temperature is not higher than 32°C. If well taken care of, mature trees produce 40 to 200 kilos of apples each year

Royal Gala apples have a mildly sweet flavor and are suitable for creating sauces. Top Red apples are delicious, crunchy and mildly sweet. Fuji apples are round, range from large to very range, and have a flesh that is not only dense but also sweeter and crisper than many other varieties. Cripps Red or Sundowner apples are mostly eaten fresh. Pink lady, also known as Cripps Pink apples, is available in small volumes in December with the peak harvest period being from late January to May. 

The South Africa apples harvest starts with small volumes in late December. The peak harvest period is from late January to May. The harvested apples are stored in controlled atmospheres for weeks, sold locally and exported until November. 

Mature South Africa apples are firm, crisp, juicy with the right color, and develop an aroma according to the variety. Farmers use ladders to reach the apples, which then get handpicked. To maintain the fruit’s freshness, they are stored in chambers with a high concentration of carbon dioxide and high air filtration, or in boxes or baskets lined with plastic or foil to help in moisture retention. During transportation, the conditions are high humidity, controlled carbon dioxide levels, and low oxygen. For local consumption, they get packed in mesh bags or plastic bags weighing 1kilo whereas, for exports, boxes and large crates are used in which the apples are boxed by size. 

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