The Heiveld Co-Operative - Produced With Pride
The Heiveld Co-operative offers exclusively finest organic Rooibos tea to the Fair Trade market. Various grades are on offer:
high quality Rooibos, medium cut
High quality Rooibos, fine cut, suitable for high quality tea bags
Medium strength, suitable for ice teas, flavoured teas and extracts
Heiveld offers a range of packaged products for sale on the South African market. For export packaging can be ordered to customer specifications.
For orders please contact Rene Marinus -
Grown and Processed the Traditional Way
Heiveld producers are the inheritors of rich local knowledge about rooibos, which was first used by our ancestors many centuries ago. We understand the plant, what conditions it needs to grow well, and how to process it to make the finest teas.
Heiveld Wild: the most natural, the first and the best
In ancient days the KhoiSan peoples of southern Africa learned that the humble rooibos plant could be used to make a soothing tea that was healthy and tasty. They harvested the green plant in the wild, chopped it up and fermented it to produce the red tea that has only recently become world famous.
Did you know that most rooibos (>99%) comes from cultivated fields, where a fast-growing variety of Aspalathus linearis is planted in mono-cultures? Planting and cultivating rooibos can produce fine tea, but it is destructive to bio-diversity, and tends to expose the land to erosion.
Some rooibos is still harvested in the wild, from the slower-growing varieties of rooibos that are longer-lived and better able to resist droughts and fires. Traditionally it has been the poor, who do not have land of their own, who have walked patiently through the veldt and harvested the wild tea. Because it was harvested in smaller quantities, and was known for its rich flavour and aroma, it was usually mixed in with low grade cultivated tea to enhance its quality.
In the past century large areas of land have been ploughed and planted with rooibos and other crops. In some areas over-harvesting of wild rooibos has taken place. There is not a lot of wild rooibos left, and Heiveld members have been concerned to manage their wild rooibos resources optimally. As a result a wealth of traditional knowledge and five years of participatory research went into developing the Heiveld's protocol for sustainable harvesting of wild rooibos.
The Heiveld Co-operative is proud to be the world's first supplier of exclusively sustainably harvested wild rooibos. Heiveld wild is a premier product for the discerning consumer: an exclusively wild harvested tea that is pure and natural , flavourful and environmentally friendly.
Sustainability our watchword, and our wild rooibos perfectly demonstrates "triple bottom line" sustainability: social, environmental and economic. It is fairly produced, biodiversity and climate friendly, and provides a sound income for producers.
Harvesting of wild rooibos tea by members of the Co-op is done on a sustainable basis. Every second year the wild shrubs are topped, and then allowed to re-grow and to flower for two season before they are again harvested.
This method is so sustainable that some plants have been harvested by several generations, over a period of more than fifty years. In order to identify the method of harvesting that least damaging to the plant, the Heiveld Co-operative Ltd. has a programme of research.
In collaboration with university-based researchers, Indigo and the Environmental Monitoring Group a long - term research programme is monitoring the effects of different harvesting regimes and gaining insight into propagation of wild rooibos and the impacts of fire. Farmers work closely with researchers, and their traditional knowledge has informed the research questions. This close interaction has also increased the capacities of the farmers.
Rooibos only grows in the Cederberg region of South Africa because it is an integral part of the Cape floristic kingdom. It has evolved in a unique soil type, along with millions of other species of plants, insects and micro - organisms. All of its "neighbours" contribute to its health and longevity.
The wild rooibos of the Suid Bokkeveld has evolved in a particularly dry region, and has an enlarged taproot that enables it to survive droughts and fires. Because it is a legume, it is also able to fix nitrogen in the soil, and this makes it a good neighbour to other plants.
Harvesting Wild Rooibos Is Hard Work!
Harvesters have to walk long distances in the hot sun. Earning reasonable prices for wild rooibos gives farmers an incentive to conserve the natural biodiversity of the Cederberg area. By buying this natural treasure you will be contributing to the conservation of one of the world's great natural treasure, the Cape Fynbos.