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Davison opens season
Across the valley, the apple industry is struggling. The economy of apples has been difficult and everywhere you look there are abandoned orchards. Okanagan apple production is only about one third of what it was 20 years ago.
But regardless of the trend, there are a few young farmers who remain passionate that the North Okanagan is a fantastic place to grow apples.
Kevin Shaw with his wife Laura, of the Davison family, recently purchased 50 acres of prime farmland in the Grandview Flats area. This spring they have been busy planting a brand-new orchard of more than 20,000 new apple trees. The Davison family currently grows more than 25 different apples, but they can’t keep up to the demand for certain popular varieties. More than half the new planting is honeycrisp apple trees, a variety of apples that Davison Orchards has sold out of for the last number of years.
“Our customers love our honeycrisp,” said Shaw, who is proud to say he “married in” to the Davison family.
Tom Davison shares his son-in-law’s enthusiasm for growing apples.
“We still believe this area is one of the best spots in the world for growing apples. The apple quality here is superb and we have very few pests and diseases,” he said. “Honeycrisp is not only popular, but it is a variety that is particularly well-suited to the cool fall nights of the North Okanagan.”
Both Tom and Kevin have been part of a team that has spent the last several weeks in full planting mode and is now busy installing a drip irrigation system, which will provide moisture to the trees without wasting a drop of precious water.
Two years ago, Shaw quit his engineering job to join the family farm, and now he is as dirty as the next farmer.
“I still can’t believe I get to do this for a living,” he said. “I love knowing my kids will grow up here, I love driving the tractor, and I love watching things grow knowing I had a part in it.”
Although Davison Orchards has expanded with a new farm in Grandview Flats, they will continue to sell their produce directly from their market in the Bella Vista area, where they also sell made-from-scratch pies, homemade soups and sandwiches at their cafe and bakery and a large selection of gifts.
Opening for the season on Thursday, Davison Orchards will offer farm tours through their orchards every weekend.
“We would love to invite you to come to the farm, take a tour and see for yourself how amazing an orchard in the spring is,” said Shaw. “We think our enthusiasm for farming here in Vernon just might rub off on you.”
Davison Orchards opens for the season Thursday and is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.