B.C. growers savouring wins at National Apple Competition

Summerland and Kelowna growers win top prizes in Toronto

When it comes to apples, it seems provincial boundaries in Canada are no barrier to sportsmanship—even it means another province’s growers win the big prize.

B.C.​ ​apples​ ​captured​ ​several​ ​of​ ​the​ ​top​ ​spots​ ​at​ ​this​ ​year’s​ ​National Apple​ ​Competition​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Royal​ ​Agricultural​ ​Winter​ ​Fair​ ​​in​ ​Toronto, including the titles of ​Grand Champion​ ​and​ ​Reserve​ ​Champion​ ​in the​ New Varieties ​category.

But not without a little help from the Ontario Fruit Growers Association.

“I​ ​congratulate​ ​the​ ​orchardists​ ​from​ ​across​ ​Canada​ ​who​ ​participated​ ​in​ ​the National​ ​Apple​ ​Competition,”​ ​said​ ​Glen​ ​Lucas,​ ​general​ ​manager of the ​B.C.​ ​Fruit Growers’​ ​Association.​ ​

“We​ ​express​ ​our​ ​special​ ​thanks​ ​to​ the ​Ontario​ ​Fruit​ ​Growers’ Association,​ ​who​ ​went​ ​above​ ​and​ ​beyond​ ​the​ ​call​ ​of​ ​duty​ ​to​ ​recover​ ​our​ ​lost delivery​ ​of​ ​apples,​ ​enabling​ ​B.C.​ ​to​ ​participate​ ​this​ ​year.​ ​​ ​The​ ​help​ ​that​ ​Ontario Apple​ ​Growers’​ ​Association​ ​provided​ ​shows​ ​the​ ​camaraderie​ ​and​ ​team​ ​approach that​ ​we​ ​have​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Canadian​ ​apple​ ​industry.”

In the competition, Steve​ ​Brown​ ​of​ ​Happy​ ​Valley​ ​Harvest in Summerland, ​received​ ​the​ ​Canadian Horticultural​ ​Council​ ​Trophy​ ​for​ ​Grand​ ​Champion​ ​of​ ​new​ ​varieties​ ​with​ ​his Ambrosia​ ​variety​ ​entry.​ ​​ ​Denise​ ​and​ ​Richard​ ​McDonald,​ ​of​ ​McDonald​ ​Farm in Summerland ​was​ ​awarded​ ​Reserve​ ​Champion​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Salish​ ​entry​ ​in​ ​New Varieties.

B.C.​ ​also placed​ ​top​ ​the​ ​commercial​ ​categories​ ​of​ ​Red​ ​Delicious​ ​and​ ​Spartan, with​ ​BCFGA​ ​president​ ​Fred​ ​Steele’s​ ​entry taking the former and ​David​ ​Bullach​ ​of​ ​Kelowna​ ​taking the latter.​ ​​ ​Spartan​ ​is​ ​a​ ​variety​ ​developed​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Summerland​ ​Research and​ ​Development​ ​Centre​ ​in​ ​1936.

Lucas said B.C.​ ​did​ ​especially​ ​well​ ​placing​ ​first​ ​in​ ​the​ ​New​ ​Varieties​ ​categories​ ​of​ ​Salish, Ambrosia,​ ​and​ ​Aurora​ ​Golden​ ​Gala ​and​ ​in​ ​Other​ ​Named​ ​New​ ​Varieties​ ​for​ ​the Nicola​ ​variety.​ ​​ ​

All​ ​the​ ​New​ ​Varieties​ ​categories B.C.​ ​placed​ ​first​ ​in​ ​featured apples that were​ ​either​ ​discovered​ ​or “bred”​ ​in​ ​B.C.​ ​​ ​

“It​ ​was​ ​great​ ​to​ ​win​ ​first​ ​place​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Salish​ ​variety,​ ​but​ ​even​ ​more important​ ​that​ ​Ontario​ ​growers​ ​placed​ ​second​ ​and​ ​third​ ​for​ ​Salish,” said Lucas. “It​ ​proves​ ​that our​ ​national​ ​apple​ ​breeding​ ​program​ ​is​ ​making​ ​discoveries​ ​for​ ​all​ ​regions​ ​of​ ​the federation.”

In addition to the wins for growers, the​ ​Summerland​ ​Research​ ​and​ ​Development​ ​Centre​ ​placed​ ​second​ ​in​ ​the novelty​ ​category​ ​Most​ ​Unusual​ ​Shaped​ ​Apple.

The​ ​BCFGA​ ​is​ ​an​ ​agriculture​ ​association​ ​with​ ​a​ ​membership​ ​of​ ​470​ ​commercial tree​ ​fruit​ ​growers​ ​in​ ​B.C.​ ​​ ​It​ ​will celebrates ​its​ ​130th​ ​anniversary​ ​in​ ​2018.

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