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Now in its fourth decade, facility continues to evaluate new varieties and generate income.


he B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association started its test orchard in the early 1980s. The purpose of the 45-acre orchard was to conduct trials. From 1996 to 2016 it was leased and operated as a commercial orchard business. Now it is evolving again to a variety testing and demonstration orchard, with part remaining in commercial fruit production. BIRTH

On Dec. 11, 1980, the board of the newly formed B.C. Fruitgrowers Test Orchard Ltd. met and decided to recommend to the BCFGA executive that: “Each commodity committee be

By Fred Steele A backgrounder on our test orchard

assigned responsibility to serve as a

continuing and active advisory committee to the B.C. Fruitgrowers Test Orchard Ltd. in all aspects of the testing of commodity or commodities covered by that

committee, and that the test orchard manager have membership on all commodity committees.” Topics of the day included an International Test of Red Delicious; pear rootstocks for trial; Golden Delicious trials on M4 including strains of regular Golden Delicious, non-spur, Sinta, Smoothee and Criterion; MacIntosh on M4 rootstocks including strains of Summerland Red, Macspur, Morspur, and Dewar; apple rootstock trials; Peach and Nectarine variety trials; and finally trials of Summer apple

varieties Tydemans, Summerred, Akane, PaulaRed, Discovery, Vista Bella (New Jersey 36), and Bright MacIntosh, all on M26.

The irrigation wells and system were developed from 1981 to 1984 on the property, which is located north of Oliver with access from Secrest Hill Road. Of the whole 70-acre parcel, about 45 acres are arable and now cultivated. A COMMERCIAL PAUSE

After operating as an experimental farm from 1981 to 1994, it was decided to lease the property. Then, after 20 years as a commercial orchard from 1995 to 2015, it was proposed that Summerland Varieties Corporation take on the test orchard for purposes of developing and demonstrating new varieties of tree fruit. NEW CONTRIBUTION

The lease income from the orchard for the past five years has been at commercial rates and helps to fund

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Summer 2016


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