September 23, 2013 - 1:59 PM
OLIVER - An orchardist wants his sweet Okana apples to bear fruit for all of the Okanagan Valley.
On a farm south of Oliver is a small brown and yellow home surrounded by apple trees. David Evans lives there and has been growing fruit for 70 years, a trade he learned from his father. He's grown, eaten and examined other apple types since he came into the world in 1933. He's even seen some new breeds of apple come off the branch but never anything like the Okana.
He's been growing it and selling it with his other apples for years but only recently decided to patent the Okana in preparation to market it. He's not interested in making a quick buck however. Evans wants Okanas to benefit anyone who grows it.
"I want it to be a financial success for the valley, not just for me."
If the Okana receives a patent Evans plans on selling Okana branches to be grafted onto other apple trees and then collect the royalties. He appears confident about his creation, which began as an accident, but has been carefully cultivated by him over the years.
He says Okanas are sweet, easy to pick, smell good, are hard to bruise and resist turning brown and mushy even when prepared and then cooked in an apple pie.
"There's a lot of unusual characteristics," he explains. "You don't need an air freshener with these apples."
He's hoping these traits will appeal to buyers at fruit and farmer conventions. It has already made an impression with markets and fruit-lovers in Oliver and Osoyoos.
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