Valley apple growers recognized at Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
KELOWNA - Okanagan apple growers were honoured at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.
Similkameen growers Robert and Jane Mennel of Cawston received the Canadian Horticultural Council Trophy for Grand Champion of new varieties with their Ambrosia entry, while Tom Davison of Davison Orchards in Vernon took Reserve Champion for their Aurora Golden Gala entry in the New Varieties category, according to the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association.
The Mennels have been farming in Cawston since 1973. They were the first commercial orchard in the valley to plant Ambrosia apples and also grow Gala, Spartans and Honeycrisp apples organically. The Davison family has been farming their Vernon operation since 1933. The business is famous locally for fruit and pies as well as their agri-tourism business.
B.C. apples also placed in the top of the commercial categories of Red Delicious, Gala, and Golden with Vernon-based entries from Bruno Gutknecht and Tom Davison.
Gutknecht purchased his Vernon orchard from his father in 1965 and has since planted the farm over to newer varieties. He and his son grow Ambrosia, Gala, Spartans, Macs and Red Delicious. This was their first entry into the Royal Winter Fair.
Third and fourth place finish for the most unusually shaped apple went to Billy and Shauna Boerboom of Summerland’s Apple Barn. The Apple Barn’s varieties also placed in several other categories. Boerboom’s Summerland farm is a popular place for consumers to purchase apples at the farm gate.
"The National Apple Competition raises awareness of the many great varieties and the outstanding growers. The show is a fun event demonstrating the team approach that we have in the Canadian Apple Industry,” BC Fruit Growers’ Association General Manager Glen Lucas said in a media release.
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