Sustainable Farming

Projects with heart and soul, a conservation goal and community upliftment motives are exactly the kind of good news stories we love to tell. We want to thank Heart of Abalone for taking us on this very special private tour to admire the wonderful work of Abagold Farm in Hermanus. Heart of Abalone is the perfect partner for this initiative – to show the world in the most educational and fun way what this farm is all about.

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The story of Abagold from its humble beginnings to a profitable, well-diversified company is a success story that needs telling. Abagold pursues an ambitious strategy which will grow its abalone interests internationally and venture into related industries such as feed formulation and renewable energy.

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Mommy & Me Dresses and Shirts by Little Poppiez

From the minute you arrive, you get the feeling you are about to be treated to a special occasion. Unlike an ice-rink, you are handed beautiful clean, fresh socks and boots to make this tour worry free as you get to see the abalone up close in their natural and farmed environment.

 

IMG_9527Part of the tour is an optional tasting of the abalone in its various forms and very soon it will also be paired with a selection of local wines. Can’t wait to go back!

As we wandered around the farm we were impressed by the sophistication of the seawater pumps and aeration system, backup power generation and innovative water reticulation systems but we were also told (and showed) that they are working on renewable energy projects, which includes the construction of Mean Sea Level’s the first ever wave energy converter in South Africa. This is an amazing sustainable farming project which one can only salute for being so forward thinking!

Mishka was more interested in the beauty of the creatures and although the tour taught her about the life-cycle of these sea snails she thought it was incredible that Abalone is such a status factor in some cultures such as Chinese, where abalone is often given as precious gifts to one another, and their size does matter, the bigger the abalone the more ‘liked’ you are by the giver.

Precisely because of this popularity of abalone, poaching became the biggest threat to this historically abundant seafood. Natural supply could not keep up with the unnatural demand and something desperately needed to be done to fight the dying-out of abalone on the South African coast. The wonderful work of Dr Hugo pioneered this very successful abalone project.

His fun home experiment was actually pioneering work for the commercial South African farmed abalone industry that today exports more than 1,000 tonnes of abalone a year to the Asian market. Dr. Hugo founded Abagold in 1995 and today this public company is one of the largest abalone farms in the country, located at the New Harbour of Hermanus.

If you are all ‘educationed’ out, there is a beautiful shop, Heartshed, with all kinds of abalone treasures: natural and polished shells, jewellery, abalone pearls and tinned abalone to take home and use in the many interesting dishes you can find in their very own cookbook.

We can’t praise this initiative enough, right here on our doorstep. If you ever visit Hermanus you can’t leave without taking this tour first, even if you are not a seafood lover, just the mere genius and positive message of Abagold Farm will give you hope for a better more sustainable way of living.

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by Gillian Coetzee

 

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