Oliver cherry packer looking to move operation to Kelowna | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Oliver cherry packer looking to move operation to Kelowna

A worker picks cherries in this undated Wikimedia Commons photo.
September 26, 2019 - 1:30 PM

KELOWNA - A 60,000 square foot fruit packing plant is planned for East Kelowna as its Oliver owner expends northward to where the cherry crop is biggest.

“Oliver and Osoyoos are mostly grapes now,” Jagdeep Gill, owner of Oliver-based Okanagan Sunshine Fruit Packers Ltd., told iNFOnews.ca. “Oliver is 60 per cent grapes now. We’re just going to move into our centre. We have property in the Kelowna area and the Vernon area.”

Gill has applied for a development permit for a 20-acre parcel on the corner of Rose and Pooley Roads in East Kelowna. It calls for a fruit processing building of almost 60,000 square feet that can employ up to 80 workers. Another 4,000 square feet will be office space with room for up to 20 workers.

The Oliver plant is at least 40 years old and has out-of-date equipment, Gill said, and it will still be used but mostly for storage.

The new plant will have state-of-the-art “optical” fruit lines where computer technology is used to sort cherries to size, he said.

If approved by city council, the new plant will start off just processing cherries for bulk sales with apple lines will be added in two or three years.

Okanagan Sunshine is a fruit wholesaler with contracts mostly with companies selling domestically such as Loblaws and Costco, Gill said.

He’s hoping to get approval in time to open for next summer’s cherry season. His Oliver plant is too small for his increased production needs and one contractor he’s used this year is going to convert his plant to a winery.

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