First Pomegranate Farm in South Africa

The Van der Merwe brothers from Merwespont, Bonnievale, a fruit and wine farm established in 1883 in the Breede River Valley, are the proud owners of Pont Juice, also known as the Passionate Pomegranate Company. They were the first farmers to grow Pomegranates commercially in South Africa.

HISTORY

Agricultural pioneers Jan, Willem, and Hugo Van der Merwe imported the first pomegranate plants from Israel in 2003. Thirteen thousand pomegranate trees were planted and a nursery established. Their main focus was to export the fruit, and provide seedlings to other farmers.

In 2006 they harvested their first pomegranates, a small crop as many of the fruit burst open. Hugo decided to make juice of these pomegranates. Having travelled the Middle East, and having tasted fresh Pomegranate juice sold by vendors on the streets, the brothers decided to produce the first 100% pure Pomegranate Juice in South Africa.

The Van der Merwe’s experimented with the juice to create a healthy, superior tasting Pomegranate juice. In February 2011 Pont Juice commenced trading as the Passionate Pomegranate Company. The fruit is harvested manually from early March to end of April.

The first grade fruit is reserved for the fresh market, export and retail purposes. The second grade fruit is sold to a company that packs and markets the fresh arils (pomegranate pips) in plastic containers. The third grade is washed and sterilized before entering the factory. Once inside, it is cut open and the bright red arils are separated from the skin and pith by hand before being placed in the press. From the press the juice is pumped into a stainless steel cooler. The juice of several sweet and tart pomegranate varieties are mixed to acquire a pleasing juice combination.

PRODUCTS – Handmade & farm fresh

In 2011 Jan and his wife, Maretha decided to expand to pomegranate syrup, reductions and preserves. Maretha perfected the products and experimented with it in various recipes. Several restaurants and acclaimed chefs have since started to use these products in their kitchens.

Fruity and Robust Pont Juice – 100% pure Pomegranate – healthy, delicious and all-natural. It is unpasteurized, not made from concentrate nor diluted with water. Neither are any other fruit juice nor juice concentrates added.

As it is unfiltered, the sediment adds to its character and flavour. No preservatives or additives are added. The juice is sold frozen and must be kept frozen until thawed to drink. Once thawed, it must be kept refrigerated and be consumed within 5 days. It is available in 235ml &1 litre bottles.

Preserves – available in Pomegranate (plain), Pomegranate with Rose and Pomegranate with Chilli – sugar added.

The plain Pomegranate preserve, and the Pomegranate with Rose pairs well with Vanilla ice cream, scones with cream or waffles with ice cream. For a decadent breakfast, drizzle over layers of French toast, Camembert wedges and crisp bacon. The Pomegranate preserve with Chilli (a mild, sweet chilli), pairs well with cheese platters, soft cheese moulds, chocolate mouse or chocolate ice cream.

Garnet Chef – A sticky Pomegranate reduction with a distinctive fruity Pomegranate flavour – no sugar added. It can be used with Greek yogurt, in fresh fruit salads, over leafy Greek salads or cold meat cuts.

Ruby splash – A light pomegranate reduction – no sugar added. Drizzle over leafy salads, fresh fruit salad or roasted vegetables. Use as a marinade with garlic and fresh herbs in meat dishes or pan sauces. It can be used in vinaigrettes, wine-based gravies and cocktails. Mix with crushed garlic and olive oil it can be used as dipping sauce with freshly baked bread.

Ruby syrup – Grenadine available in plain, rose or chilli flavour – sugar added. Enjoy as a healthy treat with Greek yogurt and cashew nuts or muesli. The fruity syrup can be drizzled over fresh fruit salad, ice cream or waffles. It adds an interesting slant to a salad of rocket, baby spinach, blue cheese and garlic croutons. Enjoy over French toast or waffles.

Did you know that Pomegranates are the number 1 Superfood and has more anti-oxidants than any other known food/fruit on Earth?

NUTRITIONAL VALUE AND HEALTH BENEFITS

Pomegranate Juice is an exceptional source of vitamin A, C and E with minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, potassium, iron, folic acid, niacin, thiamine, folates, and riboflavin.

Pomegranate has been used for medicinal purposes in the Middle and Far East regions for thousands of years. Pure Pomegranate juice has disinfectant and antiseptic properties. It contains antioxidants like anthocyanin and ellagic acid, and punicic acid, an omega 5 polyunsaturated fatty acid, and flavonoids like quercetin. Antioxidants are molecules that protect the body from the harm done by free radicals. Pomegranates also contain estron – a natural oestrogen which is also produced by the human body.

Heart – It keeps the arteries flexible, it decreases inflammation in the lining of the blood vessels, and known to reduce atherosclerosis. It helps to raise the levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol, reducing “bad” cholesterol (LDL). Consult with a medical practitioner when using anti-cholesterol or blood pressure medication.

Maintains Blood Sugar Levels – Although pomegranate juice contains fructose, it does not elevate the blood sugar levels as other fruit juices do. Diabetics should consult a medical practitioner before use.

Protection From Cancer – It eliminates free radicals from the body and inhibits the growth and development of cancer and other diseases. Pomegranate contains the fatty acid CLA, a powerful anti-cancer agent.

Soothes the Stomach – It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery as it plays a vital role in the secretion of enzymes which aids proper digestion.

Boosts Immunity – It has strong anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties which help fight viruses and bacteria and boost the immunity system.

Prevents Anaemia – A condition caused by the deficiency of red blood cells in the body.

Anti-Aging Benefits – It help to slow down the process of ageing by reducing wrinkles and fine lines caused by constant exposure to sun.

All products are PAREV and HALAAL endorsed and available through various retail outlets, markets and delis in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng. Passionate Pomegranate is a regular exhibitor at Food Exhibitions and Taste Shows.

For more information call 071 691 1806 (9h00 – 12h00) or visit www.passionatepomegranate.co.za – “Where to buy”