Farm family earns golden apple

Avtar and Ronnie Mann of Vernon recipients of golden apple award from B.C. Fruit Growers Association

A commitment to quality has paid off for a Vernon farm family.

Avtar and Ronnie Mann are the recipients of the 2012 golden apple award from the B.C. Fruit Growers Association.

“We’ve been working so hard over the years and we’ve made it,” said Ronnie.

“We feel really good about it.”

In 2001, the couple produced 84 bins per acre of ambrosia apples and 72 bins an acre of gala apples.

“The grade and size was outstanding along with the high yields,” states a BCFGA press release.

The Manns — whose children attend university — first got into farming by leasing an orchard in 2005. They are currently working 17.5 acres in the Bella Vista area.

Among the steps they have taken towards a successful orchard are summer pruning and using a nutrient program based on soil, leaf and fruitlet analysis.

They also maintain a strict spray program as a way of reducing the impact of pests and disease on their crop.

While considerable time and effort goes into the orchard, Ronnie admits it’s necessary if the farm is going to be successful.

“To grow good fruit, you have to be out there,” she said.

Much of their experience was gained while working for David Geen at Coral Beach Farms in Carr’s Landing.

Besides the orchard, the Manns operate a 1.5-acre nursery in Lavington.

The award was presented at the recent B.C. Tree Fruit Horticultural Symposium in Kelowna.