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.

 

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

Just Posted

South Okanagan real estate market adjusting to ‘new normal’

Numbers are up in March; however, industry insiders say the market has cooled

Not all receive COVID-19 aid from federal government

Summerland woman does not qualify for federal assistance during COVID-19 pandemic

Law enforcement will patrol shuttered campgrounds in Cascades this weekend

Patrols will enforce provincial order requiring all such facilities remain closed during COVID-19

Campfires still permitted in Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen

Restrictions have been implemented elsewhere within valley

Summerland parks remain open for passive use

Users urged to maintain physical distancing to slow spread of COVID-19

COVID-19 death toll reaches 50 in B.C., while daily case count steadies

B.C. records 34 new cases in the province, bringing total active confirmed cases to 462

Public warned to stay away from algae bloom near Herald Park in Shuswap Lake

Interior Health states that people, pets should not drink the water in the area or touch the algae

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

South Shuswap residents criticize upgrades to Balmoral Road/Highway 1 intersection

Reliance on frontage roads and narrow underpasses near Blind Bay not good enough

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

COVID-19: No more international flights at Kelowna International Airport

All international flights at YLW have been suspended, airport to operate just nine flights a day

B.C.’s top doctor details prescription for safe long weekend

Yes, it includes hosting an online cooking show

BC SPCA seeks help for abandoned German shepherd puppies

Donations have ‘petered out’ as doors are closed due to COVID-19

Reality TV show about bodybuilders still filming in Okanagan amid COVID-19

Five bodybuilders from across the country flew to Kelowna to move into a house for a reality TV show

Most Read