NURSERY WORK Workers at Mountain View Growers, Inc. prepare tree seedlings. The seedlings will be planted around the province and beyond. (John Arendt/Summerland Review)

Trees from Summerland nursery planted around the province

Mountain View Growers, Inc. produces 25 million seedlings a year

A Summerland nursery has been supplying trees for forestry replant projects throughout the province and beyond.

Ron Boerboom, president of Mountain View Growers, Inc., said the nursery is producing around 25 million seedlings this year on its 20-hectare operation.

This year, most of the seedlings will be planted in British Columbia, although some will also be sent to Alberta.

When Boerboom travels within the province, he sees areas where seedlings from Mountain View Growers are now becoming established trees.

“It’s an amazing experience,” he said.

Some of these trees can be seen west of Summerland and near the Coquihalla Highway.

The trees are planted in areas which have been logged, burned or suffered from beetle kill damage.

Since trees use carbon dioxide and create oxygen, planting trees is good for the environment.

READ ALSO: Hotter, larger fires turning Canada’s boreal forest into carbon source: research

READ ALSO: B.C. government seeks advice on reviving Interior forest industry

“The best thing people could do is plant more trees,” Boerboom said. “In our own way, we’re helping to create a better world.”

Mountain View Growers was started by Boerboom’s father in 1961. The family had immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands in 1952. They started an orchard and greenhouse operation in the early 1960s.

Over the years, the operation shifted to become a tree nursery. This began in 1987, with 800,000 seedlings that year.

In the last two years, the operation has expanded from 12 hectares to 20 hectares, and the number of seedlings grown each year has also been increasing.

At this time of the year, the seedlings are growing in trays outside, but Mountain View Growers also has greenhouses for some of the seedlings.

The greenhouses use a radiant heat system, which is more efficient than traditional forced air furnace systems.

While Boerboom grew up on the family farm, he left to pursue a career developing pictures, and for close to 30 years, he operated a one-hour photo studio in Penticton. In the early 2000s, he returned to the tree nursery.

Boerboom said the years he spent working in photo finishing has helped him in the nursery. Photo finishing requires precision and efficient processes in order to produce consistent quality. At the nursery, he has implemented processes to ensure the seedlings meet a consistent standard of quality.

Mountain View Growers remains a family operation, with Boerboom’s brothers Bill and Dan, his sister Marianne and other members of the family.

He also relies on Juan Sevilla, who moved to Summerland from Ecuador and works with much of the growing operation.

“I’m happy to be working with this operation. This family is amazing,” he said. “It’s also exciting to be involved in so much technology.”

Sevilla’s Spanish language skills also help the nursery as temporary workers from Mexico are hired each year to assist with the growing operations.

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