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and recommends a table of adjustments to take into account the local terroir. He contends that a good estimate can be made by adjusting the data from the nearest weather station, according to such variables as altitude, site orientation, slope, proximity to a large body of water and a couple of dozen other factors. He gives the revised estimate of growing degree days the term E°. With a knowledge of the location of the nearest weather station, the terroir of a local site can be estimated by adding or subtracting adjustments for the various measurements. With this calculation in mind


the risk can be lowered when planting grapes on a site with no viticultural history. Gladstones also includes a table of grape varieties ranked according to length of growing season. There are 66 pages which


discuss the climate changes of the past millenia, and the factors which were responsible for those changes. One period that caught my


attention was the Medieval Warm Period, which stretched from about 950 to 1250 AD. Gladstones points out the presence of viticulture in England and Belgium during that period and that the Paris area of France was a major wine exporting region. For several hundred years, the


Northern Hemisphere was warmer than it is now. This period was followed by the Little Ice Age, in which many of the vineyards of northern Europe were abandoned and there were major food shortages. Gladstones makes a clear point


that human activity contributes to climate change, but there are many other factors beyond our control, such as sun spot activity and changes in the earth’s orbit and axis. These factors have periodic occurrences which may or may not coincide. Based on the record of past


temperature shifts we can make an estimate of what might occur in the decades ahead. Are you ready to adjust? — Gary Strachan is listed on


LinkedIn. 30


PHOTO COURTESY KELOWNA PUBLIC ARCHIVES British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Fall 2013


Looking Back By Wayne Wilson


F


ormore than 100 years, farmers and orchardists in theOkanagan Valley have been processing fruit


and vegetables on a commercial scale. For the first 40 years or so of that history, the record is filledwith failed attempts at establishing canneries and processing plants. Beginning in the 1930s, however, a


number of factors came together and a clutch of entrepreneurs emerged to change that failure to success.During theGreatDepression, growerswere realizing lower and lower returns for their fruit sales.While some of the attentionwas placed on stabilizing prices and finding newmarkets, other effortswere beginning to simply use more of the produce. TheKelownaGrower’s Exchange, for


example, openedModern Food Products in the 1930s as a subsidiary operation to turn cull and C-grade fruit into apple juice, apple cider vinegar, dehydrated apples, and other commercial products.Marketed under the Sun-Rype brand, these products arguably became the benchmark for most of the ensuing successful cannery operations in theOkanagan Valley. The postWorldWar II erawas one of


corporate consolidation and centralization, and thatwas also true for theOkanagan’s processing industry. By the late 1940s, British Columbia Fruit Processors had been formed to amalgamate a number of processing plants up and down the Valley.Over the following decades, BCFP changed its name to Sun-Rype Products Ltd. and eventually closed its smaller plants up and down the valley in favour of consolidating operations inKelowna’s north end industrial district. Heading these operationswere the likes of Bill Vance, TinyWalrod, Ian


Greenwood and otherswhose backgrounds in business, food processing, and fruit growing merged to forge a viable industry that remains today. The same sequence of consolidations


and plant closures can be seen in other commercial operations (Aylmer plants inKelowna and Penticton, for example), and in other regions of B. C. John Stewart, in 1992,wrote a


wonderful study of the closure of cannery operations in theKamloops region during this postwar era—and it can be found in a journal called B. C. Studies atUBC.


What remains of the rich history of


fruit processing in the region is a colourful graphic legacy as seen in the labels found inmuseumcollections and archival holdings throughout the valley. Look at Sun-Rype labels next time you are in a supermarket and realize that what you are seeing is themodern evolution of a long and rich history of fruit processing in the Okanagan Valley. If you have photos of the the Okanagan’s tree fruit history, consider donating them to the B. C. Orchard Industry Museum in the historic Laurel Packinghouse in Kelowna. Make your donation part of your commitment to the Okanagan’s historical record. — Wayne Wilson


is the former executive-director of the B.C. Orchard Industry Museum and the B.C. Wine Museum.


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