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employees. Some relocated while others looked for opportunities elsewhere. The packinghouse property has yet to

be sold and there are no definite plans for future development, according to IanMcIntosh, director of development services for theDistrict of Summerland. B.C. Tree Fruits continues to pay

approximately $92,000 annually in property taxes. TheNaramata plant,which closed in

2008, also remains empty and although there are prospective buyers for both it and the Summerland facility, nothing had been finalized at the time of this writing. ManyNaramata and Summerland

growerswere unhappy about the closure of their packinghouses because of the increased costs and time required to transport their fruit to other plants. For Billy Boerboom, shutting of the

Summerland packinghouse created opportunities to significantly increase his own retail fruit sales and utilization of his cold room. An experienced grower, Boerboom

ownsWindmillOrchards andWindmill Garden Centre. He also owns The Apple Barn,which

was built in 1998 and originally open only on Saturdays. It nowoperates 24/7 frommid-August toMarch on an honour system. Customersweigh their purchases and

drop theirmoney into ametal container. “I remember sitting in the arena

parking lot across the street fromthe packinghouse andwatching a lot of people going in to buy fruit.When it closed, I knewthose peoplewould still bewanting to buy fruit,” he said. Today, Apple Barn customers have a

selection of at least 11 varieties of apples at any time plus pears and selected vegetables in season. Boerboomgrows all produce. All apple varieties are 50 cents per

pound, an amount Boerboomconsiders fair to customers and himself. “Business is doubling every year.

People like the honour systemand convenience of shopping at any time. I’ve never had any problemwhatsoever because of it,” he said. Apple Barn apples are nowsold at

Nester’sMarket in Summerland and at IGA in Penticton, Summerland and

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Fall 2013 7

Peachland. “I’msellingmore locally and less to

the peddlerswho distributemy apples throughoutWestern Canada,” Boerboom. He is keen on encouraging children to

eat healthy food. The colourful 10-pound bags of Apple

Barn appleswill soon have small toys— amazewith a farmer and farmanimals —to interest kids in eating apples. Boerboomalso sawan opportunity to

provide receiving and cooling facilities for local cherry growerswho became

independentwhen the packinghouse closed. The packinghouses used by growers

are some distance fromtheir orchards so they either have to have an expensive refrigerated vehicle or access to nearby cooling facilities. “In season cherries arrive every hour

from6 a.m. to 10 a.m., go intowater and are then cooled at zero degrees. Trucks begin arriving at 11 a.m. to take the chilled cherries to Peachland or Oliver to be packed,” Boerboomsaid. It’s a win-win for everyone.

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