Agriculture is a cornerstone of Okanagan life and tree fruits, together with cherries, peaches, and apples, are synonymous with a go to to the area. A number of the hottest kinds of apples we’ve come to know and love have been found or bred within the Okanagan Valley—the candy, crisp Ambrosia for instance, which accounts for a 3rd of the apples grown in BC and has a farm gate worth of greater than $12.5M, was found within the Nineties by the Mennell household on their farm in Cawston, within the South Okanagan. In the present day, the orchardists belonging to the BC Tree Fruits Cooperative develop greater than 12 premium apple varieties. BC Tree Fruits, together with different producers all through the Valley, additionally mix and course of apples for merchandise like juice, cider, and extra.
The Evolution of the Apple
It has been greater than 160 years for the reason that first apple timber have been planted in Kelowna, however this staple fruit continues to evolve due to the work of the staff on the Summerland Analysis and Improvement Centre, which was established in 1914 and began its apple breeding program within the mid-Nineteen Twenties.
Utilizing conventional breeding strategies, researchers have bred a number of well-known apple varieties together with the Spartan, Dawn, and Salish. Timber are planted and faraway from the check orchards every year, making certain solely the perfect stay—a brand new selection will take about 20 years to develop.
The centre is one in every of 20 in Agriculture and Agri-Meals Canada’s (AAFC) community. Together with apple breeding, scientists working in Summerland pursue analysis centered on “high-value horticultural crops,” like wine grapes and tree fruits, in addition to sustainability, biodiversity, and extra.
“We’re lucky to have such a wealth of expertise and experience within the Okanagan Valley,” says Tourism Kelowna Director of Enterprise & Vacation spot Improvement, Jennifer Horsnell. “Our staff showcases Kelowna’s agriculture experience and highlights trade success tales, like these proven under, by way of our OKGo marketing campaign to draw conferences and conferences, which contribute positively to the native financial system.”
Showcasing Easy Elements
Photograph Credit score: Shawn Talbot Pictures
Certainly one of these regional success tales is SunRype, which has been making 100% pure apple juice right here within the Central Okanagan since 1946. In the present day, the corporate employs greater than 300 folks at its Kelowna manufacturing facility, which is “probably the most environment friendly, high-tech fruit processing operations in North America.”
“We make actually nice issues out of fruit and different easy components, and our mission goes past product growth to additionally embody supporting neighborhood initiatives that assist to advertise a wholesome lively life-style for households all through the Okanagan and all throughout Canada,” says SunRype President and CEO, Lesli Bradley.
The straightforward components embody the very best quality apples from the Okanagan Valley (and Washington State when demand requires) for SunRype’s not-from-concentrate apple juice, in addition to 100% fruit juice concentrates and purees sourced from North America and past to make its fruit snacks and juice blends. SunRype’s dedication to high quality, in addition to its use of extra environmentally pleasant packaging, makes it a alternative you may be ok with.
From Orchards to Agri-Tourism
The Gill Household, Farming Karma Fruit Co.
After greater than 30 years spent farming apples, Karma and Kuku Gill recruited their youngsters to launch Farming Karma Fruit Co. at their Kelowna orchard. The Gills have constructed a profitable agri-tourism vacation spot that features a tasting room, the place you may sip on their Farming Karma Sodas whereas watching the manufacturing line, properly as an RV park and canine park.
To create the juice for his or her unique Apple Soda, grown-in-Kelowna apples are harvested, washed, crushed, and pasteurized. From there, the juice is carbonated, and their brilliant purple cans are stuffed, sealed, and shipped to greater than 1,300 shops throughout BC, in addition to to pick shops in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon. Like SunRype, Farming Karma is dedicated to easy components—every can of Apple Soda incorporates one single apple, and is freed from added concentrates, preservatives, and sugars.
Along with being derived from the title of one in every of its founders, Farming Karma additionally speaks to the corporate’s dedication to doing good and giving again. Via the corporate’s ‘Do Good’ initiative, the Gills acknowledge locals who’re making a distinction in the neighborhood and showcase those that are giving again by way of their on-site media centre. The karma is unquestionably good right here!
Discover our weblog to be taught extra concerning the farms, orchards, and markets in and round Kelowna. For extra info on the Central Okanagan agriculture sector, together with sector success tales, go to the OKGo web site.