The old Okanagan post office in Spallumcheen, British Columbia, was the perfect setting for 2018 International Fruit Tree Association summer tour group photo as LauraLee Heuser Gale, right, gives an announcement in the hot afternoon sun on July 24. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
Tourists to Canada’s Okanagan Valley can thank the glaciers for carving the wonderful views in southern British Columbia, but local growers look to the future by growing new varieties and crops on the fertile benches the glaciers left behind.
On the first day of the 2018 International Fruit Tree Association study tour in July, Carl Withler, an industry specialist for the Canadian Ministry of Agriculture, summed up what we’d learn over the next couple of days: B.C. growers are facing change head-on.
Local growers are looking to cherries, wine grapes, cider and agritainment in areas where stone fruit and apples once dominated, all due to market changes, strong local research into new cherry varieties and rising temperatures in the warmest part of the province.
Here’s a quick look at a few stops on the tour.
—by TJ Mullinax
Though wine grapes weren’t an official part of the summer tour, attendees couldn’t miss the acres of wine grapes throughout the Okanagan Valley, including these new varieties, at left, being developed at Canada’s Summerland Research and Development Centre on July 23. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
BC Tree Fruits Cider staff member, Delphine Maja, bottom left, tries to keep IFTA attendees attention while giving a group tasting at the company’s new cider division on July 24, 2018 in Kelowna, B.C. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
Jen Baugher, right, and Allison Schrader talk with a friendly goat at the petting zoo at Davison Orchards’ agritourism stop in Vernon, B.C. during the IFTA tour on July 24, 2018. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
TJ Mullinax joined Good Fruit Grower as digital producer and photojournalist in 2013. He photographs and edits visual stories for the print magazine and online publishing spaces. Along with editorial production, TJ develops and maintains the magazine’s digital products. -- Follow the author: Phone: (509) 853-3519 -- Email