In more than 35 years of farming, Tom Davison said he has never seen an apple crop this late.
But the harvest has finally arrived, and Davison Orchards is ready.
“The apple harvest looks great, it’s just that it’s a full two weeks behind,” said Davison, one of several generations of family members running the farm.
Davison Orchards, originally a McIntosh orchard, now grows 23 different apple varieties. This diversity usually allows them to be harvesting apples from mid August to late October. While these summer apples don’t have a long shelf life compared to fall apples, they are still crisp, sweet and great for baking or eating when they’re fresh.
With the harvest being late, the Davisons were more excited than usual to begin picking Royal Gala apples this past week. They will be harvesting two or three more varieties this upcoming week, including Arlet, a local favourite.
In order to celebrate the harvest, the Davisons would like to invite Vernon to come to their fall special events. This month they will be focusing on the Apple Harvest and the abundance of fresh fruit and veggies the Okanagan enjoys this time of the year.
U-pick apples and orchard tours will be running every Saturday and Sunday in September from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. respectively, with each weekend offering two to three apple varieties to choose from.
“It’s a chance for the family to not only get fresh apples, but to go one step further and see first-hand where and how their food is grown,” said Tamra Davison. “The kids have fun, yes, but they learn something about their food and agriculture at the same time.”
Pancake breakfasts will kick off Davison’s weekend event every Saturday with apple pancakes and apple cider syrup.
On Saturday, Davison Orchards will be hosting their second “Taste our Local Abundance” with local food, vendors and, special this year, Chef Ryan from 27th Street Grill. Ryan will be doing a cooking demo and showcasing some of the new items on their fall menu using 100 per cent local products. Tamra Davison will be demonstrating a family favourite, apple salsa, an innovative and tasty fall salsa made with fresh, grated apples.
As well as the U-pick apples, on Sept. 25, Davison Orchards is partnering with the Vernon Museum to present “Labels and Laundry,” an interactive heritage day for kids and adults alike to imagine and experience their grandparents’ way of life. Davison Orchards will be displaying authentic apple box labels and volunteers from the Vernon Museum will be demonstrating an antique wringer washer for kids to check out how grandma hand- washed the laundry.
Davison Orchards and their community partners invite you to come up to the orchard and celebrate together the bounty of our land.