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Lapins Award for Kappel

Cherry growers show appreciation for contributions by longtime PARC researcher.

By Judie Steeves F

ederal researcher Frank Kappel, who retired in March from the Pacific Agri-food Research Centre in Summerland, was presented with the Lapins Award in recognition of his contribution to the industry at this year’s Okanagan- Kootenay Cherry Growers’ annual general meeting in March. The meeting was held in

conjunction with the first annual B.C. Tree Fruit Horticultural Symposium in Kelowna.

Kappel was most recently in charge of development of new varieties of cherries at PARC. That work will be taken over by Cheryl Hampson, who looks after the apple breeding program as well.

Kappel had been with the federal government for 28 years, 23 of those at Summerland, and 17 in the cherry breeding program.

Awards also were presented to a pair of Cawston orchardists, Linda Edwards and Brian Mennell, for their efforts over the years on behalf of their fellow orchardists. Edwards has spent 30 years consulting in the Okanagan, particularly in the area of entomology, helping growers with research into innovative ways of battling pests.

Mennell was a charter member of the OKCGA and is retiring this year. Kelowna orchardist Dave Stirling was elected president of the association, replacing Greg Norton of Oliver.

Stirling’s family has been farming in the east Kelowna area for 101 years this year, and he currently grows 35 acres of cherries—the first year his entire crop is cherries.

Prior to 1997, he grew apples, but gradually he has transitioned into

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Summer 2011 23

cherries. He joined the association in 2001, just two years after it was formed. Stirling says about 75 per cent of his fruit is exported. Elected vice-

president was David A. Geen, a cherry grower from the Lake Country area who operates Coral Beach Farms. OKCGA treasurer is Christine Dendy, who grows cherries in southeast Kelowna as well, while the secretary remains Graem Nelson. Other growers elected to the board include Glen Wood of Kelowna, Roger Bailey of Lake Country, Hank Markgraf, field services manager with the Okanagan Tree Fruit Co-operative, David H. Geen of Lake Country, Michael Beulah of Summerland, Rick Faynor, Gary Snow and Duane Holder of Creston, co-op field staff Charlotte

Leaming, David Lane of Summerland, Jarnail Gill and Chris Danninger of Oliver. Norton said the association relies on voluntary levies per box of fruit to put towards

research work on issues affecting the industry.

Frank Kappel

This year there is a record number of contributors to the association’s work. Issues include new pests, water, storage strategies and new varieties of cherries with improved quality attributes and different ripening dates, in order to lengthen the season cherries are available. Growers heard a number of reports on research work that has been done on such issues in the past year.


Christine Dendy, left and Greg Norton, right, of the Okanagan-Kootenay Cherry Growers Association executive, congratulate Brian Mennell and Linda Edwards for their contributions to the industry.

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