Local agriculture was front and centre.
On Wednesday, the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C. held a regional agriculture tour.
“This was a great opportunity to learn about innovative projects in agriculture in your region, and learn more about the kinds of projects that the Investment Agriculture Foundation has funded in these areas and across the province,” said Tamara Leigh, senior communications strategist.
Among the stops was Jealous Fruits in Lake Country and Dobernigg Orchards/BX Press in the BX.
With help from IAF, David and Melissa Dobernigg led a study to determine the market potential for ciders. They conducted market research and are sharing this information so other growers can more accurately determine feasibility and minimize risk for their own operations.
“The project’s potential extends far beyond the Dobernigg’s backyard, however,” said Leigh.
“The entrepreneurial couple believe that the development of a craft cidery region is an opportunity for growers throughout the valley to not only add revenue streams to their business but also to utilize cull fruit normally wasted and reserve their best fruit for the fresh market.”
According to Melissa Dobernigg, a craft cidery region could significantly boost agri-tourism in the valley.
“Craft cider is a big trend right now, especially just across the border,” she said.
“This could really open the doors for agri-toursim and help growers attract people to the farm.”
The Doberniggs and other growers are contemplating forming an industry-wide organization representing cider makers and cider variety growers.
“There’s a real spirit of collaboration among cider enthusiasts. We’re all excited to see this unfold in the valley,” said Melissa Dobernigg.
“There’s been a lot of uncertainty in the industry lately, but this will help us move forward with more confidence.”
The Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C. was established in 1996 as an industry-led, not-for-profit organization in the province.
“Our focus is to work with clients, industry and funding partners and invest in projects that have the potential to transform ideas into solutions,” said Leigh.