Montagu gooseberries have become quite sought after in the last few years. We have been growing gooseberries in the Keisie Valley for about 5 years now and have increased production vastly in the last two years, to the extent that we are probably the largest growers and suppliers of gooseberries in South Africa at this time.
On Vredendal farm we grow our own berries as well as buying them in from our neighbours. We then package them into punnets and sell them to the Cape Town market.
We also supply the big packers for major food chains in South Africa. The second grade gooseberries are sold to jam makers and our latest addition to our product range is Dried Gooseberries which are dried organically - without preservatives. These are absolutely delicious in trail mixes, muesli, snack bars or used for baking. We are currently the only producers of dried gooseberries in South Africa - a popular addition to the dried fruit market.
Gooseberries (also called Goldenberries or Appeliefies in Afrikaans) grow well in our somewhat harsh climate and we are proud to be giving work to the local women who are otherwise usually unemployed in the winter months, when the berry season is at its maximum output. They also require very little in the way of pesticides as are only rarely attacked and usually when the plants are still very young and before the berries start to show.
Cape gooseberries contain beta carotene and vitamin C as well a substantial amount of potassium. Beta carotene and Vitamin C help to promote a strong immune system while potassium plays an important role in controlling blood pressure.
Gooseberries are also fairly low in calories.
Being an orange fruit the cape gooseberry contains antioxidants such as vitamin C as well as carotenoids and bioflavonoids, all of which promote good health.
Including yellow and orange fruits as part of our daily diet helps us to maintain our hearts, vision, immune system and lowers the risk of some cancers.
The unripe fruits is poisonous and is believed to have caused illness and death in cattle in Australia.
The cape goosberry is believed to have certain healing properties. In Colombia, the leaves are boiled and used as a diuretic and antiasthmatic. In South Africa, the leaves are heated and applied as poultice on inflammations. The people of the Zulu tribe believe that an infusion made with the leaves relieve abdominal ailments in children.