Follow us on Twitter!

Categories
2008
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
Adams County
ADHD
advocacy
Africa
ag
ag policy
apple
apple art
Apple Blossom Festival
apple juice
apple tree
apples
art
Ask A Grower
award
bad humor
Baltimore
baseball
beer
bees
Ben
berries
Biglerville
biology
birds
blog
bloom
blossoms
Brick and Mortar
brix
bulk
buyer's club
CA storage
Camp Hill
canned goods
canning
Carlisle
CCD
Central PA
certification
charity
cheese
Chef
Chefs
cherry juice
chilies
choosing
Chuck Darwin & The Knuckle Draggers
cider
Cider Fest
Cider Town
clingstone
cocktails
colorblind
Columbia Heights
concentrate
conservation
contest
cooking
craft beverages
crop diversity
customer survey
damage
Dave
DC
dining
dinner
discounts
Donald G. Wenk
drought
Dust Bowl
education
events
Fair Food Farmstand
Family History
FAQ
FAQ market
farm
Farm Dinner
farm history
farm labor
Farm Show
farm visit
farm workers
farmers
farmers markets
Farmers on the Square
Farmers on Walnut
food
Food Alliance
Food in Jars
food policy
Food Safety
food soverignity
food system
Food Tank
Food Tank Summit
Food Trust
FOTS
FREC
freestone
freeze
freezing
frost
fruit
fun
Future Harvest
FutureHarvest
fuzz
Gettysburg
Gift Baskets
Gift Boxes
Gifts
grafting
Granny Smith
Greenbelt
Grocery Store
growing
Growing Greener
Growing Practices
guide
guster
Harbor East
hard cider
harvest
Hawkeye
Headhouse
heirloom
heirloom apples
heirloom tomatoes
HHS
history
homebrew
homewine
Honeycrisp
hot
hot peppers
humor
IFTA
instagram
Intermarche
internship
IPM
John
juice
Ken Burns
Kenilworth
Kosher
Kosher Certified
lancaster
land access
LEAF
lightning
local
lysteria
Madam Fromage
Mark Bittman
market
marketing
markets
Maryland
Maryland Department of Agriculture
Maryland Farm to Chef
Master Farmer
mating disruption
maturity
MD
meetings
merlin
Muscle Bound Lummox
music
nectarines
Nerdy ag
NRCS
nursery
NYFC
Obama
oddity
offseason
One Straw Farm
online
online orders
online store
orchards
orders
organic
Organophosphates
Orioles
PA Apples
PA Cider Fest
pantry items
PASA
peaches
penetrometer
Penn State
Phillies
Philly
photos
pictures
planting
Ploughman
Ploughman Cider
pollination
preserving
President
press
pro food
produce
profood
PSU
raptors
Reading Terminal Market
recall
recipes
Red Delicious
refractometer
restaurant
restaurants
ripe
rodents
rootstock
Roy Orbison
science
scion
scouting
seconds
seedlings
Shane
SHAP
shipping
silly
Silver Spring
social networking
South Africa
starch iodine
STEM
storage
subsidies
survey
sustainability
sustainable
Tasting Menu
testimonials
The Atlantic
tomato
Tony Danza
tour
Towson
travel
tree
trees
Trini food
Trinidad
trivia
twitter
value added
varieties
video
visit
weather
White House
white peaches
wildlife
winter
winter markets
World Series
Year in Review
yellow peaches
YGA
ZA
zagat
Mailing list sign-up
<< Back

YGA

Posted 2/21/2016 11:14am by Ben Wenk.

Elgin Valley, near GrabouwGreetings from sunny South Africa!  It’s an international blog entry in real time!  I write you from the Northern part of the Western Cape province in an agricultural town called Ceres, where farm tour will begin in the morning for me and Amanda.   

It being the case that this particular outpost doesn’t offer as much to a traveler as does our next and final spot, Cape Town, I decided to share some of our travel experience with you.  And, seeing as how the wifi at this particular house is free (wish), we’ll provide at least a few updates in real time before we hit Cape Town.  

 

So first, why South Africa?  The short version is Penn State research and extension plant pathologist Dr. Kari Peter, stationed at our nearby Biglerville research and extension center, had traveled here for a conference and thought it would be a great trip for us.  And it certainly is - South Africa is the southern hemisphere’s leading exporter of apples, ranking 7th overall by volume.   

yes, I actually took this pictureBut, perhaps more importantly, I’ve learned that travel is a great teacher.  That’s the main reason for our traveling to South Africa.  Not only learning about some of the unique challenges they face in their fruit production but to be exposed to a different culture and, just generally, gain a better appreciation for both your role on the earth and your part of the earth - I learn a lot about “home” when I travel too.

I’ll certainly wade into the more murky technical waters - what we’re experiencing in the fruit orchards (AND vineyards, by golly - WOW) as we go along here.  For now, a few anecdotal quips to set the scene.  

 The flight itinerary looked like this: Dulles > Johannesburg (18 hrs + nearly one hour for de-icing on the tarmac), Johannesburg > Cape Town (2.5 hrs plus a scrambly/quick layover) added up to almost 24hrs of transit (+7hrs time change) on the money.  All this before my first jaunt down the N2 Highway on the left side of the road… at 11pm local time… we were a bit weary getting in.  The flight was super cheap.  The South Africa Rand - also super cheap to the delight of your humble narrator and the dismay of our hosting farms who export 75% of their produce.  There are no giraffes in the apple trees - that’s a different area of Africa altogether.  We’re not catching any kind of rare deleterious diseases or are we under the influence of any kind of witch doctors or any other bizarre crap people actually asked me about when I said I’m going to Africa.  African Swallows are nearly always unladen and exhibit an impressive land-speed velocity, the specifics are yet, to me, unknown.  And never EVER in your life could you be more “put off” by a song’s timing than when Toto’s “Africa” starts playing the moment you walk into a shopping mall in Somerset West.  With sincere apologies to Toto who are a very fine band… and that Kristin Bell video too, which was kind of funny.  That’s all for now, friends!