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federal/provincial AgriFlex fund,went into a high-tech brine chiller and new Controlled Atmosphere storage rooms for apples inWinfield. In late August, federal agriculture

ministerGerryRitz and provincial agricultureminister Pat Pimmmet at the facility to announce a further $735,150 for a state-of-the-art, computerized, soft-touch defect sorter for the apple line,whichwill result in better quality, cleaner fruit, runwithout mechanical handling. Its total costwas $2million,with co-opmembers footing the rest of the bill. Tyabji said the projectwillmean the

co-op is capable ofmatching the packing costs of its competitors in Washington State. Future plans include a half-million-

dollar robotic palletizer at that facility, said Tyabji, forwhich the co-opwill seek further funds fromsenior governments. As far as further property sales are

concerned, Tyabji said an offer on the co-op’s Vaughn Avenue property in Kelowna fell throughwhen the buyer was unable to find enough other long- termtenants until hewas ready to re- develop the property. It’s listed for sale at $6million and

remains listed. Although apples are no longer

processed there, cherries for an aggressive export sales programand the pears are still handled there. Active negotiationswith a specific

buyer are underway for the four acres onwhich the old packinghouse in Oyama sits, said Tyabji. It’s listed at $2.5million. There’s a similar situation in

Naramata,where negotiations are underwaywith a specific buyer for a number of lots, including one on the water and the others nearby, or across the road fromthe lakeshore—a total of five or six acres. They’re listed for $6.5million. The co-op’s downtown Summerland

property,which includes four acres under roof and a total of seven acres, is also in active negotiations for sale, although it’s not even listed at the moment, said Tyabji. There’s still cold storage for receiving

fresh fruit in both Penticton and Summerland aswell as Creston,where therewas quite an increase in cherry receiving this year, noted Tyabji,with a million pounds fromthat region. This year, the co-op also invested

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Fall 2013 9

heavily in hydro-coolers for receiving cherries in each receiving station and managed the fruit carefully to ensure it arrived at the packing line in good condition. “We babysat themthroughout,”

commented Tyabji,who said even though the cherry cropwas down significantly, they sawincredibly good quality cherries this year, and got the highest price ever frommarkets in the Far East. Growerswho last year did not fulfill terms of their contractswith the co-op

by selling fruit independently instead of through the co-op have been dealtwith, said Tyabji, and this year there have been nonewho sold independently outside their contracts. Thosewho owemoney to the co-op

fromlast year areworking on repayment plans so the co-op can recover themoney, he said, and 40 per cent have returned to the co-op. “Growers nowrealizewe’ll hold them

to their contracts,” he commented. The BCTFC annual generalmeeting is set forOct. 24 in Peachland.

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