Apple growers from Summerland proved themselves as some of the best in Canada once again as they received honours at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.
The results of the competition were released on Friday. Four Summerland fruit growers received awards.
Billy and Shawna Boerboom of Windmill Orchards took first place honours for Golden Delicious and second place for McIntosh. They also received second place for Ambrosia and third for the best collection of five varieties.
Steve Brown of Happy Valley Harvest received second place for Gala.
Devin and Janine Jell of Sun-Oka Fruit Farms received first prize for Ambrosia, first for Aurora Golden Gala and second for the best collection of five varieties.
Tom Kinvig won first in the Other New Varieties category for Salish.
“The quality of the apples was excellent from all provinces this year,” said Glen Lucas, general manager of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association.
The growers who entered the competition made the judges job difficult this year, and B.C. growers held their own in the competition.”
Boerboom said his success came because of “a driven passion to strive to do the best possible job.”
In the 1980s, he worked with his father, Wim Boerboom, on their Summerland orchard. Around 19 years ago, he took over the operation.
He said his father played a huge role in his success.
“He was my mentor,” Billy Boerboom said. “He taught me what I know.”
Windmill Orchard has 5.3 hectares in apples, pears and cherries.
The apples were planted in the spring of 1990.
“We grow the best possible quality that’s provided by the earth,” he said.
In addition to his hard work, he said the conditions this year worked in their favour. While the crop was lighter than normal, the quality was excellent, he said.