Coldstream farmer harvests top honour
Much like the trees he has lovingly nurtured into production, Coldstream’s Jamie Kidston has helped the fruit industry continue to blossom.
Kidston was presented with the B.C. Fruit Growers Association’s life member award during a ceremony in Kelowna Thursday.
“It’s been a real privilege to work with the industry and help it move forward,” he said.
Perhaps it was natural for Kidston to get into the business because his family started growing fruit in Coldstream in 1904.
Initially, though, he pursued geological engineering and that took him around the world, including Greece, Thailand and the Philippines.
But in 1977 he decided to take over the family farm.
“It’s in my blood,” he said of why he switched to farming.
Since then, Kidston has been active in the industry, including with the Vernon Fruit Union, B.C. Tree Fruits, Sun-Rype Products, the Okanagan Valley Tree Fruit Authority, the B.C. Trade Development Corporation and the International Fruit Tree Association.
“We needed to honour him because of his years of service and his family’s contribution,” said Joe Sardinha, BCFGA past-president.
“He has such an outstanding track record.”
Kidston enjoys studying orchards around the world and was most recently touring South America.
“It’s a family,” he said of getting together with his global counterparts, adding that orchardists in other countries face similar challenges to those here.
He is easing into retirement and recently sold 35 acres and is leasing out the remaining five acres. But he will continue to stay involved in the sector.
Kidston is confident about the future of the industry as long as orchardists are willing to adapt.
“You have to grow the right varieties and the right quality. You have to keep replanting (varieties). You need the right mix,” he said.