A glimpse of 30,000 apple varieties in various stages of propagation overlooking the shores of Okanagan Lake highlighted the first day of the International Fruit Tree Association summer tour through British Columbia, Canada, on Monday, July 23.
The Summerland Research and Development Center, operated by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, is searching for new apples to bolster the region’s industry.
“There’s a lot of niches you can have when you have a repository at 30,000,” said Nick Ibuki, business development manager for Summerland Varieties Corp., an independent company that works with the center.
Producers in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia’s interior struggle to get access to lucrative club varieties because most growers have small acreage; a few estimated that the average orchard size is around 12 to 15 acres.
The research center is best known for its cherry varieties, such as Lapins and Suite Notes, that are suited to the region’s climate.
Other stops included a high-density apple orchard, a cider apple orchard — one of the few in the area growing cider-specific varieties for the area’s surging cider industry — and a historic train trestle.
The tour continues Tuesday with an emphasis on cherries and agri-tainment.