The Badžak family’s fruit plantation in Blagaj has become an important tourist attraction for many visitors when they come to visit the southern part of the country.
Jaffa-Komerc ltd. is a family-owned business established more than thirty years ago. Today it is not just a serious business with a large fruit plantation covering an area of 80 hectares with as many as 105000 fruit trees and 200 subcontractors from all across Herzegovina, but also a tourist attraction where buses with foreign visitors pull over on a daily basis because visitors want to go for a nice walk around the plantation and pick a wide variety of tasty fruits and berries that nature has blessed this area with. But, apart from hosting curious guests who have a nice time here, Jaffa-Komerc also cooperates with secondary schools of agriculture and faculties of agriculture and makes it possible for students to use demonstration plots for the needs of their graduation and master’s theses, and for pupils to gain practical experience.
In the Garden of Gifts of Nature
Years of selfless work and good ideas have made it possible for the Badžak family’s local business to grow into a company that is recognized in the wider market for the quality of its products, customer-oriented approach, dedication to work and excellent overall results.
Especially due to the establishment of a large subcontractor network throughout Herzegovina, the company’s development has boosted the economic development and sustainability of agricultural businesses in this area, and now the plan is to establish a network of local producers who make fruit and vegetable products using traditional Herzegovinian recipes. The focus would be placed on women from rural areas, and Jaffa-Komerc would distribute these products under its brand name.
Cherries, grapes, apples, nectarines, peaches, plums, pomegranates, the paths leading up to them, an apple or plum here and there along the pathway that have dropped from trees before fruit pickers could harvest them, are the sights that many a tourist from different countries finds unforgettable.
Even though the Badžaks did not plan to turn their plantation into a tourist attraction, that part of the business just happened on its own . On their way to the famous Blagaj Tekke, tourists suddenly started pulling over and getting into the orchards out of curiosity. It was then that the Badžaks decided to make their outdoor cafe to serve beverages they themselves were producing. It turned out to be a fantastic move, and soon enough they began designing tourist packages which became popular rather quickly, because hardly anyone could say no to a relaxing ride in a fairy tale-like little white train, finding out more about the sweet gifts of nature and filling up their baskets with delicious fruit.
Apart from fruit, a wide range of vegetables, such as early potatoes and green beans are also planted on the Jaffa-Komerc plantation, and for anyone who loves nature, anyone who has always been wondering how agricultural production is organized, what the most delicious types of fruit are and what traditional products are made using fresh fruit, this is the place to come.
“We’ve made an ideal combination of gaining a little agricultural experience and enjoying nature,” says Nedim Badžak, company manager.
Company employees speak English, German, Russia and Macedonian, which facilitates day-to-day communication with guests coming to visit the plantation, as well as with foreign business partners.
“We have happy customers from across the region, but also from the European Union, Russia and Jordan,” he adds.
Thirty-five people are employed full-time at Jaffa-Komerc to make sure that everything runs smoothly, and up to 100 seasonal workers are hired daily to help them out during the planting and harvesting season.
“We invest in educating our employees and promoting healthy fruit and vegetable products all the time. Close to the plantation, there’s a fruit nursery, and we also have cooling systems and greenhouses. Successful production over the years has allowed us to offer our clients advice on selecting seedlings, setting up orchards and buying cutting-edge equipment for fruit and wine production. I’m happy to see that people have recently become increasingly interested in these activities.”
The Badžaks have been very creative and wise in putting to use all the riches Herzegovina is blessed with in building an empire to provide for themselves which gives them great peace of mind and comfort. The awards and recognitions Jaffa-Komerc has received, such as the 2008 FB&H Businessmen Award, the Golden Cherry Award for peaches, apples, young potatoes and peppers, and the Gold Plaque which was presented to the company for hosting the 2009 Cherry Days event, will surely motivate the Badžaks to embark on new business ventures.
Get to Know Jaffa
This tourist package includes welcoming visitors and giving them some information about Blagaj and Jaffa-Komerc. Visitors then go on a mini train tour around the plantation to find out more about a large variety of fruits and their unique characteristics. Then they can pick ripening fruit if they want to.
Duration: cca. 45 minutes
Expert Jaffa Visit Covering Fruit
This tourist package includes welcoming visitors and giving them some information about Blagaj and Jaffa-Komerc. After the introductory part, visitors enter the production facilities to find out more about the cooling, sorting out and packaging technology. Depending on the fruits they choose, visitors board the Jaffa Train to explore the plantation and discover more about the varieties of fruits and vegetables, the way they are planted and cut, about the vegetation… And then they pick and taste fruits.
Duration: cca. 1.5 – 2 hours
Little Jaffa Explorers
This package includes welcoming children and giving them information about Blagaj and Jaffa-Komerc in a child-friendly way. After the introductory part, children hop on the Jaffa Train to tour around the plantation to discover more about different kinds of fruit, and then they visit the plantation’s agricultural machinery storage building. After that, children partake in a quiz called Did you know… and pick ripening fruit.
Duration: cca. 1.5 hours