Four Summerland orchards received national recognition for their apples at the National Apple Competition in Toronto on the weekend.
The competition is part of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
“B.C. apples did great again this year in the national apple competition, a fitting tribute and a finale to the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association celebration of its 125th year,” said Fred Steele, president of the association.
Billy and Shauna Boerboom of Windmill Orchards received first prize honours in the Jonagold category.
The Boerbooms grow apples, pears and cherries on 5.26 hectares. They also have an on-site packing house and a fruit market.
Steve Brown of Happy Valley Harvest received second prize in the Gala category, while Julie Sardinha of Sardinha Orchards took third.
Brown has been growing fruit with his father Bob Brown for more than 12 years. He has also worked as a field service representative with the B.C. Tree Fruits Co-op program.
Sardinha has been involved with farming since 1981. She and her late husband Joe Sardinha took over his parents’ orchard in 1998 and began a massive replant at that time.
Devin Jell of Sun-Oka Fruit Farms received the first place award for Granny Smith apples and Ambrosia apples.
He also won third in the Pink Lady category.
In the Best Collection of Five Varieties, he took second place with his assortment of Honeycrisp, Ambrosia, Aurora Golden Gala, Granny Smith and Pink Lady.
In the heaviest apple category, he took first place honours.
Jell has been farming a 10.5-hectare high-density apple orchard for seven years. His family has been farming in Summerland for more than 120 years.