the area where I pulled out my cherries because of Spotted Wing Drosophila,” he said. Most likely he will jump-start juice production this year using Merlot and Chardonnay grapes purchased from other growers.
“I can buy grapes at a favourable price because of over-production,” Markus said. Most orchardists who sell apple juice do so as a way to diversity their income. “Markus processes about 24 bins of apples a year for us. We sell the juice primarily at farmers’ markets in Vancouver,” said Kevin Klippenstein who with his wife, Annamarie, owns Klipper’s Organic Acres in Cawston. In recent years Kevin has noticed an increase in the number of vendors selling juice at the markets.
Michael Welsh takes approximately 10 bins of apples a year from his Naramata orchards to Okanagan Sunshine in Oliver for processing.
He sells the resulting 2200 litres of juice at farmers’ markets in the Okanagan and Vancouver.
Kelowna growers Glen and Loretta
Cross are going into the juice business in a much bigger way.
Seven years ago the couple started the first phase of diversification when they planted an array of berries. This was followed by ground crops and sweet corn. “Early this year we started talking
about diversifying further into juice. In March we heard that the Bullocks were selling all of their equipment and we bought it,” Glen said.
Stalwarts in the fruit industry for three generations, the Bullock family owned Kelowna Land and Orchard. The equipment, which includes everything from a bin dump and crusher to stainless steel sinks and tanks, necessitated constructing a 166 square- metre building to house it.
“The paper work required to get all the approvals is horrendous,” Loretta said holding a thick bundle of information and forms from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. “There are also Interior Health requirements,” Glen added. “You have to provide a paper trail for everything such as who cleaned what piece of
equipment when.” Loretta has also spent many hours preparing a business plan.
Eventually, the couple anticipate using
approximately 20 per cent of the crop from their 15 hectares of apples for juice. “We’ll experiment with combinations
of our nine varieties of apples to find the best ones,” Glen said.
This year, however, they are
purchasing apples from the packing house in order to have juice on the market by June 1.
Their goal is 30,000 litres this season. “It’s a healthy product—100 percent pure apple juice, UV pasteurized and unfiltered,” Glen said.
The juice will be sold under the label of Function Junction which is also the name of the couple’s produce stand located near the junction of Springfield Road and Highway 33.
Glen and Loretta are looking to initially sell their juice at local food stores and their own produce stand and then to expand into grocery chains.
“An obstacle with the larger chains is that you have to supply all of their stores which can number in the hundreds,”
British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Summer 2011
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