Keith Balcaen, owner of Coldstream Ranch, shales hands with Vegpro founder and CEO, Gerry Van Winden, as Coldstream's mayor, Jim Garlik looks on, following a press conference held to announce the deal, at the District of Coldstream municipal office Wednesday afternoon. (Erin Christie/Morning Star)

Vegpro invests $60 million into Coldstream

Quebec-based company purchasing Coldstream Ranch land for production

An international presence is taking root and expected to grow employment in the North Okanagan.

Vegpro International, a Canadian leader in ready-to-eat packaged salads, sold under the Fresh Attitude brand, is coming to Coldstream.

The Quebec-based company announced a $60 million investment into the rural lake-side community.

Coldstream Ranch has agreed to sell Vegpro approx 700 acres for the farm, which will include a packing house.

“This is expected to create 200 jobs over the next three years,” according to Vegpro of positions ranging from farm hands to engineers.

The salad grower intends to begin operations in the spring/early summer of 2018.

“The transaction provides an opportunity to add value to the Coldstream agricultural land base while maintaining the integrity of one of the oldeset continually operating ranches in Canada,” Vegpro continues.

In addition to the farming operation, a 70,000 square foot state of the art produce packing facility will create additional employment opportunity for local communities.

“Today is an exciting day for Coldstream, particularly the agricultur sector,” said Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick. “The investment and commitment from Vegpro to establish their western operations in our community will bring significant economic benefits to Coldstream and Greater Vernon as well as enhance the agricultural productivity of lands within the ALR. I look forward to working with Vegpro as they move through the process of setting up their farming and administrative operations.”

The first wave of job postings will be available at http://vegpro.com/en/careers/