Old Christmas card has ties to Summerland agriculture

Card was sent by former director of Summerland Research Station

This is the Christmas card from Richard ‘Dick’ Palmer and his wife Marjorie, at the Summerland Research Station.

Their home, shown in this card, is the superintendent’s house at the station.

Dick Palmer was the superintendent at the station from 1932 to 1953.

He played a central role in the success of Summerland’s Fall Fair. He was given the honour of Good Citizen of the Year in 1949.

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The station, to the south of Summerland, was created in 1914 when the federal government purchased 162 hectares from Antoine Pierre. Of this land, 81 hectares below the railway tracks was for irrigated farming while 81 hectares above the railway was for dry farming.

When Palmer was the head of the research station, several branches of research were discontinued. These included swine, tobacco, poultry, beef cattle and dairy cattle.

At the same time, horticultural research expanded.

Today, the research station is best known for its fruit research, especially the development of the Spartan apple.

Work on this variety began in 1924 and the commercial trial took place in 1936.

The Spartan is a hybrid of the Macintosh and Newton apples. The research was done by Palmer and the variety was selected by Arthur Mann.

Other fruit varieties have also been developed at the station.

Peaches: Fairhaven, Triogen.

Apples: Tydemans Red, Bright Macintosh, Sinta, Spencer, Summerland, Summerred, Macspur, Morespur, Wijic.

Pear: Sierra

Apricots: Blenheim, Skaha.

Cherries: Sue, Sam, Star, Van, Lapins, Compact Lambert, Compact Stella, Salmo, Stella, Summit Sweet.

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