Summerland fruit growers receive awards

Orchardists from Summerland received high honours at the National Apple Competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.

Orchardists from Summerland received high honours at the National Apple Competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.

The fair was held in November.

“I congratulate the orchardists who grew exceptional crops, even with the challenging early season and hot weather in 2015,” said Fred Steele, president of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association.

Jim Hermiston of Summerland received Reserve Champion for the category for Aurora Golden Gala.

Hermiston and his wife Cathy of Hermiston Orchards are third-generation fruit farmers. The farm has been in Jim Hermiston’s family since 1916.

Apple varieties grown at the farm include Ambrosia, Salish and Aurora Golden Gala.

Windmill Gardens of Summerland took third-place honours for Other New Named Varieties for Salish apples.

Billy and Shauna Boerboom of Windmill Orchards and The Apple Barn grow apples, pears and cherries on 5.26 hectares.

“I’m humbled and honoured to have the opportunity to do what I love to do,” said Billy Boerboom.

He added that his staff have played a major role in producing the high quality apples which were recognized at the competition.

Approximately 0.4 hectares of the orchard is used to grow Salish apples, a unique dessert apple. The variety was developed at Agriculture Canada’s Summerland Research and Development Centre, in partnership with the Okanagan Plant Improvement Corporation.