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and eventually being ‘delisted’ by the big packing houses. Test orchardists who had taken the

risk to grow Aurora were faced with the difficult choice of either replacing their plantings with other varieties or hoping a market would develop. In 2011, PICO began to work with

orchardists who were growing small quantities of premium new apple varieties and those varieties with thin skins that bruise easily to find a way to deliver the fruit to customers. It was soon recognized that the value

chain concept held the most promise. “Value chains are consumer-driven

versus supply chains which are retailer driven,” said Kingsmill. Summerland orchardists Jim

Hermiston explained that value chains involve a whole sequence of relationships based on trust. In the case of fruit, these

relationships include those between growers, packers, distributors, promoters and marketers. A new distribution network was

formed that includes JIND Fruit Co. in Osoyoos, an independent specialty fruit packing house owned by Jesse Sandhu, and Rob Smith’s Berrymobile Fruit Distribution. Before being asked to join the chain,

JIND had to pass a packing test. “With our new gentle Lynx line and

the use of 27-pound Euro Tray Packs we can successfully pack Aurora,” Sandhu said. Berrymobile markets fruits and

berries to high-end outlets in the Lower Mainland and Whistler. The “Born in BC. Raised in the

Okanagan” brand enhances the promotion and marketing links in the value chain which in turn generates more profit for the BC fruit growers. PICO engaged the services of Ellie

van Nie, brand strategy consultant, Tracy Cobb, public relations expert, and Stephanie Seaton, graphic designer, to develop and design the brand name and logo and to help promote and market Salish and Aurora. “It’s a win-win for growers and

consumers. The growers receive good money for their crops and consumers receive a premium apple at a reasonable price,” said Hermiston. If the value chain concept proves to

be successful, Hermiston will consider increasing his plantings of Aurora even though he finds them difficult and expensive to grow.

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Winter 2012-13 15

“Born in BC. Raised in the

Okanagan” apples will be easy to identify because they will be sold in Euro cartons which allow for prominent display of the brand logo. “The added graphics on the carton,

along with header cards, will build awareness of the new brand, give greater visibility of the apple varieties to consumers and encourage purchase,” said Kingsmill. The varieties will initially only be

available in BC which will help to differentiate them from imported apples and make them less susceptible

to price influencing from the US or other countries. PICO has exclusive evaluation,

distribution, propagation and commercialization rights from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for plant material developed in the apple, cherry, berry and soft fruits breeding programs of PARC at both Summerland and Agassiz. Owned by the BCFGA, PICO is a

world leader in the area of variety rights management and currently manages intellectual property rights in more than a dozen countries.

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