At Source Handmade Foods is a relatively new player on the dried fruit scene, but a long farming history stands behind the enterprise. Our founder and managing director, Handri Conradie, is a 6th generation fruit farmer in the Bokkeveld near Ceres, South Africa’s thriving deciduous fruit growing capital. His family has farmed in the district since 1832.

Handri founded At Source in 2002 and the company quickly breathed new life into the tired dried fruit industry through its innovative, quality products. The Conradies are the majority shareholders of At Source, but everyone who works here is passionate about the business and takes pride in its success.

Working together as a cohesive team has resulted in dramatic growth for our company. Soon after starting the business, we became the house-brand supplier to retail giants Woolworths and Pick n Pay, as well as several smaller specialist retailers.  We are still a major supplier of Woolworths, and have added Waitrose in the UK to our customer list. We also created Cecilia’s Farm, our own premium brand of dried fruit products.

Success doesn’t come without hard work and commitment. The original idea behind the founding of At Source was to build an honest business that would radically transform the market through innovation based on ground-breaking research and development. We also wanted to radically change the perceptions people have of dried fruit. In order to achieve these goals we needed a team of professionals committed to the ideals of the company. So Handri assembled a core team of people with passion and world-class expertise who have collectively contributed to the company’s achievements.

Today the At Source team includes food scientists, quality control officers, accountants and admin clerks, operational management, sales personnel, marketing professionals and the foot soldiers working on the factory floor. The At Source staff complement reaches a seasonal high of about 150 people.

You also need innovative products if you plan to change people’s perceptions. Our soft-eating dried fruit, produced using world-first technology created by our in-house research and development team, really amounts to an entirely new dried fruit eating experience that has, we believe, turned many previous non-consumers into loyal dried fruit eaters. This striving for excellence and innovation continues to be a driving force in our company.

Growth came faster than anticipated to At Source. We quickly outgrew the converted farm shed on Koelfontein farm that originally served as the centre of our operations. This made way for a 4 000m² processing and packaging facility in 2004. We started buying dried fruit from neighbouring farms to keep up with the demand. In an effort to diversify our range and source only the best quality fruit, we also began sourcing fruit from other parts of South Africa and even importing high quality dried fruit from around the world.

We’re very proud of how far At Source has come as a business, but this is not the final destination. It’s more of a beginning for us. And so we will keep encouraging one another to better our past achievements and to remember that we’re not just doing this for our generation. We’re working for generations to come. That’s a great reason to keep growing.