After 60 years of fruit farming

Geres retires after 60 years of fruit farming

After 60 years of farming fruit, 87-year-old Barbara Geres has sold her home and orchard.

After 60 years of farming fruit, 87-year-old Barbara Geres has sold her home and orchard.

“I sold it all. I won’t miss it. Sixty years is long enough,” she said.

Geres was born in Kennedy, Sask. and came to Summerland in 1945 as a young woman looking for work.

The thought that prompted her to come was, “Go west young girl, go west! There’s nothing here for you but dust storms and drought and grasshoppers.”

In Summerland she found a friendly town, ideal for home life.

“When I came here I thought… this is the country! I like the trees, I like the valleys and I like the fruit,” Geres said.

It was with the Doherty family that she found work as a housekeeper and was first introduced to orchard work and the fruit industry.

She later worked at a local restaurant, Mac’s Café where she cooked and baked and met her soon to be husband Jack Geres.

They were married in 1949, in the same house that she has lived in and surrounded by the same land she has farmed since that time.

Although her husband Jack had bought the orchard in Prairie Valley, it was not where his interest lay. He wanted to continue his education and to become a plumber and gas fitter and to work with the public. He soon started his own business called Geres’ Plumbing and Heating.

“The orchard then got to be too much for him and he couldn’t keep up, so I stepped in,” said Geres.

Over the years Geres continued to farm the orchard, taking great interest in the fruit trees.

She also grew a large garden and learned to sew and upholster furniture.

For the 22 years that her husband was in business, she looked after the office for him and learned a lot about plumbing.

Together the couple raised two children and were able to send them to college.

“We had a happy marriage and the kids were brought up with good schooling,” said Geres.

Jack Geres passed away in 2001.

“I cared for him. I didn’t give up,” said Geres. “I always said you’ll never go into a home. I took care of him until he died here at home.”

After the loss of her husband, Geres decided to carry on with her life in the orchard.

“I hired extra help and continued on with the knowledge I knew,” she said.

In 2004, Geres married Heinz Wartenberg, enjoying another six years of marriage, until he too passed away.

“Then I carried on alone again,” said Geres.

Each year she harvested her fruit, with the aid of hired help. Whatever fruit she did not send to the packing house, or sell to tourists, she donated to the Food Bank.

“Why waste it? Give it away,” was her motto.

During her life Geres said she and both husbands always took time to travel.

In recent years she has been involved in mission work with Global Habitat of Canada. She went to Cambodia one year and to El Salvador last year.

“People in Canada do not know how fortunate they are,” said Geres.

“Since I found out what is involved when doing mission work in other countries and how poor they are…and we have more here than we can handle, well I can’t help but talk about that and I’m not shutting up about it!”

Geres is looking forward to moving to her new home closer to town. She intends to perhaps do more mission work in the years to come and to get back into sewing, now that she does not have to attend to agriculture.

“This farm has sold and I have no regrets. I’m just happy it went in a very honest Christian way,” said Geres.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton man wakes to wildfire, forced to evacuate

A wildfire sparked off the side of Highway 97 near Penticton on Thursday

Roots & Blues announces ticket giveaway ahead of online festival

The festival is streaming free online this year, but those who pre-register can win passes for 2021.

LETTER: Plants help enhance Summerland

Summerland Public Works has added to beautification

Ryga Arts Festival to include live events

Arts festival in Summerland will feature live and online performances

UPDATE: Wildfire between Summerland and Penticton now ‘under control’

Emergency vehicles are at the scene near Sage Mesa, evacuation centre set up in Penticton

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Anti-gang cops probe Kelowna’s street-level drug trade over B.C. Day long weekend

CFSEU’s Gang Enforcement Team was deployed to Kelowna last weekend

Man allegedly wielding knife at Kelowna Superstore arrested

The 29-year-old Kelowna man has been released on strict conditions for a future court date

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

Most Read