Fruit apple irrigation lifestyle smallholding for sale around Grabouw in the Elgin Valley, Overberg district.
Sherwood Farm is located in the beautiful and picturesque Elgin Valley, an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Elgin is renowned for it’s excellent apples, and more recently, for the quality of its wines.
The farm is in a convenient and accessible position along the Viljoenshoop Road, 2km from the N2. Peregrine Farmstall is just 5 minutes drive away, Grabouw village a further few minutes, Somerset West with it’s excellent shops and malls and the Strand Beachfront are just 25 minutes drive, and in the other direction, Hermanus is 40 minutes drive away.
The Elgin Valley has become renowned for its mountain-biking and other sporting events, including trail running, triathlons and rowing; these activities bring an influx of visitors to the valley on many weekends during the year, all of which adds to the vibrant and cosmopolitan social life, and business opportunities, which are enjoyed by those living in the valley.
It is the excellent farming, tourism and business opportunities, the beauty and convenient country living, and the central location which have long attracted farm-buyers to Elgin, with small farms in the highest demand as gentleman’s country estates. Many small fruit farms have thus been purchased and upgraded over the years, and provide a cost-effective and most attractive alternative to the more expensive properties located in Constantia, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.
Buildings & Grounds
The main homestead (approximately 530m²) consists of the following: 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, lounge, library, dining room, kitchen, dining hall / games room. There is a lovely vine-covered veranda leading off the lounge and dining room, shaded by a massive Oak tree.
The bathrooms and kitchen should be upgraded and modernized, and as circumstances permit, the entire dwelling should be re-roofed.
In the south wing: 2 adjoining rooms currently used as offices, a separate store-room, a bathroom and separate WC. Further along is a one-roomed flat with bathroom.
The swimming pool is in a dilapidated state, beyond repair and would have to be dug out and if desired, replaced – perhaps re-positioned in a different location.
The cottage (approximately 80m²), located adjacent to and to the north of the main dwelling, comprises of 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, a separate WC, a kitchen and a lounge / dining room. The bathroom requires new tiles, and the second bedroom a new carpet.
The farm shed (approximately 200m²), located adjacent to and to the south of the main dwelling, measures approximately 300sqm, with a large open working area, 3 store-rooms, two WC's and a staff rest room.
There are three open garages adjacent to the farm shed.
The only labourer’s cottage is made up of two adjoining housing units, each with two bedrooms and an open kitchen area. This building requires renovation and upgrading once occupants have left.
The farm measures 19.7 Hectares (Ha) in size, made up of two sub-divisions. Of this total, some 6 Ha are planted to apples – Granny Smith, Golden Delicious and Top Red. Another 8 Ha are lying fallow, after old apple orchards were pulled out; these fallow fields may qualify for organic farming certification, and can in any event readily be planted again.
An avenue of mature and productive pecan-nut trees leads from the Viljoenshoop Road down to the large, old homestead with its gardens and mature oak trees. The buildings here include the main house with its outbuildings, a smaller two-bedroomed cottage and a solidly-built farm shed, which incorporates store-rooms and a large storage- and work-space. A sizable labourer’s cottage is located some distance away, overlooking the farm dam.
Land Use Summary:
Farm # 317 Portion 16 17.15 Ha
Farm # 319 Portion 17 2.55 Ha
Whilst still producing profitably, the trees in orchard numbers 1B, 2A and 3A are in decline and should be replaced in the next few years.
Water & Irrigation
The farm is registered for irrigation water with the local Groenland Irrigation scheme, which supplies water via pipeline directly to the farm. The water is currently supplied to the farm via the neighbour’s dam, which saves on pumping costs. It can also be fed directly into the Sherwood farm dam and pumped from there.
The farm has an allocation in the Groenland scheme of 82,000 cubic meters of summer water, and 14,000 cubic meters of winter water. This is more than adequate, even if the farm were to be fully-planted again.
Underground ‘main’ water lines reach into each corner of the farm, and ‘sub-mains’ supply each orchard block, and smaller blocks within each orchard.
Some 15 years ago the farm switched from micro-jet irrigation to drip-lines, which supply each tree individually and which allows for a finely-tuned irrigation and fertigation schedule.
Domestic water is supplied from a borehole located near the homestead and stored in a cement tank, from where it is gravity-fed down to the homestead. The tank is cracked and requires a new lining and roof. There are two boreholes elsewhere on the farm which have fallen into dis-use, but which could conceivably be rejuvenated if necessary.
The farm is largely open to the neighbouring properties, though there is a well-established hedge along the Viljoenshoop Road.
The farm is supplied directly by Eskom, with two transformers on the property. One near the homestead and the other at the pumping station at the farm dam.
The production figures are attached; they are as provided by the neighbour who manages the orchards for us.
As the remaining orchards on the farm are mature, and in some instances the trees are past their best, production figures are not as impressive as they could be. However, the existing orchards can be used to bridge the gap and provide cash flow until potential new plantings start to produce.
Based on available information, average production over the past three seasons is in the vicinity of 800 to 900 bins of apples per annum, with perhaps 60% being Grade 1 (export quality) and Grade 2 and the balance Grade 3.
Some movables are available, but most have been sold as we had no use for them. A new owner would have to invest in the required machinery and equipment.
The farm has no employees. There is an elderly gent living in one section of the labourer’s house who will be re-housed in Grabouw when a sale is finalised. There are currently a couple of seasonal employees housed in the other section of the labourer’s cottage who will leave after the harvest, in May.
The orchards are rented out to the neighbour who currently pays us R15,000 per month, or R180,000 per annum. Total income from the existing orchards is unclear.
The farm is not registered for VAT, though a new owner should be; in this event transfer duty paid on the purchase of the farm may be claimed back as a VAT credit.
Sherwood Farm can be enjoyed as a lifestyle farm, with an upgraded and modernized homestead and with horse paddocks and cattle pastures extending over the open fields. Alternatively or additionally, one can readily start a tree-nursery, erect green-houses and produce high-end produce for the local and export markets, establish a fish farm and/or grow vegetables, flowers, lucerne and exotic fruits.
Naturally one can readily plant new fruit orchards and/or vineyards too.
At a cost of some R125,000 per hectare, the farm could be planted to Oak trees, inoculated in order to produce truffles, an immensely valuable and sought-after delicacy. With very low maintenance and operating costs, a hectare of Oak trees can reportedly generate an income of upwards of R500,000 per annum in truffles, and when felled, the timber too can prove to be very valuable.
Alternatively, one can embrace the tourism potential, and establish a boutique country hotel, a guest lodge, a restaurant, weekend cottages or a bed & breakfast establishment.
Given the relatively flat land, accessibility and proximity to Cape Town, this property has enormous potential and could with limited investment become very profitable.
And of-course, living in Elgin beats living in the city!
Reason for Selling
The owner died in 2012, leaving the farm to his wife who is elderly and intending to retire abroad. Her only capital is the farm, and in order to fund her retirement the farm must be sold.