Carters support hospital with apple benefits

A Summerland couple have stepped forward with a $250,000 donation to the South Okanagan Similkameen (SOS) Medical Foundation.

Neal and Louisa Carter of Summerland

Neal and Louisa Carter have come a long way since they used to go swimming in the Similkameen River after a hot day of picking at an uncle’s orchard in Keremeos.

Today, the Summerland couple farm more than 60 acres – and have stepped forward with a $250,000 donation to the South Okanagan Similkameen (SOS) Medical Foundation. This will help provide the medical equipment for the new Patient Care Tower at Penticton Regional Hospital.

The Carters’ generous donation follows the recent sale of their company, Okanagan Speciality Fruits Inc. which successfully developed the non-browning, genetically modified Arctic Apple. They remain on the company’s board – Neal as CEO and Louisa as Chief Financial Officer.

“An Arctic apple has exactly all the same proteins of a conventional apple, other than the fact that we’ve turned off the enzyme that creates the browning,” he said. “It’s there, but it’s only expressed at three or four per cent of its normal level.”

While acknowledging their donation to the SOS Medical Foundation is only possible because of the sale of their company, the Carters remain enthusiastic fruit growers.

They have lived in Summerland since 1992 when they bought a one-acre property on Tada Avenue. Three years later they purchased their current 21-acre apple orchard overlooking Prairie Valley. They also grow cherries on part of their 40 acres of leased land.

Neal and Louisa both grew up in Vancouver and moved to the Similkameen after they graduated from university got married in 1982, just as the economic recession hit.  Neal was a bio-resource engineer, while Louisa had a degree in forestry.

With jobs scare, the young couple opted to live in a small cabin on Neal’s uncle’s orchard and “live the simple life” picking fruit.  Despite their city roots, they quickly adapted to the rural lifestyle.

“Neal told me he just thought he was a farm boy that was born in the city,” Louisa said with a smile.

“We had so much fun and just knew that someplace down the road, we would like to do this ourselves,” Neal added. “I wanted to have our own farm, instead of always working on other people’s farms. It’s our passion.”

Their orchard is now a family affair.

“We’ve got a son (Joel) and a nephew (Neal Vander Helm) both working on the farm with us, which is really fun,” Louisa said.

All three of their children – two boys and a girl – graduated from Summerland Secondary School.

Janice Perrino, executive director of the SOS Medical Foundation, has strong praise for the Carter’s donation.

“To see the success of this family and then watch them give back to their communities is just incredible. They’re sharing their good fortune by giving to the hospital that we all use,” Perrino said.

Construction of the new Patient Care Tower at PRH is due to start next spring and be completed by late 2019.

 

Just Posted

October power disruptions planned

Summerland to upgrade switches at electrical substation

Student leadership conference hits home

Nearly 500 Grade 5 students taking part in leadership conference in Penticton

Regional district and city hoping to curb bad recycling behaviours

City of Penticton and the RDOS are teaming up to eliminate contaminates

Penticton patient care tower fundraising going strong

About $14.3 million in donations for the Penticton hospital has come in

Exercising her right to fight

Thinking inside the box helped push Geneva Kostashen through cancer treatment

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Raven story shines light at Children’s Showcase

Season opener of the Children’s Showcase in Penticton

Okanagan Taste: Snacks and what to pair with them

Your guide to for the go-to snacks and beverage pairings for sports season

Dirty book sale

Penticton Public Library hosting its annual book sale

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Most Read