Isa Basson and her husband, Sonnie, went through a rough time after losing their farm Rietvlei near Laingsburg, in the Western Cape, in 2003. With hardly any money left, Sonnie and his eldest son, Louis, went to do seasonal work for six months on a farm in the US.
Basson stayed on at the farmhouse, which they now had to rent, to look after their daughter, Ezéth, and son, Johan, who were both still in school at the time. To make ends meet, she put her hand to any work she could find, including selling crop insurance and raising ostrich chicks.
“Times were tough, but I learnt to live in the moment and trust that when one door closes, another opens,” Basson recalls.
Upon his return, Sonnie applied for many jobs, but nobody was interested in employing a 45-yearold who had never worked for an employer. Then, in 2004, three days before he was due to return to the US for another stint of seasonal labour, he had a lucky break: Sakata Seed offered him a job as a sales agent, a position he still occupies today.
• Isa Basson started bottling peaches in 2010 as an additional source of income.
• Today, she processes a wide range of fruit, which she buys in from farmers.
• The business processes about 40t of fruit a year.
Money, nevertheless, remained tight for the Bassons, so when their neighbour asked them in 2010 whether they could take over a contract to supply a farm stall in Stellenbosch with preserved peaches, they grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
“We took the weekend to think it over and on the Monday went out to buy sugar and glass jars. It was a huge commitment, as we had to pay for everything in cash, except for the peaches, which we could pay for a few months later. I also didn’t want to disappoint my friend who had entrusted us with the contract,” recalls Basson.
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