At just over 1.6 hectares, Rawdon Potter’s orchard block is small but vibrant.
The block, one of three Potter farms, was the winner of the Compact Orchard Award presented at the 2012 Tree Fruit Industry Awards.
The awards were given in Kelowna on March 1 and 2.
Since 2006, Potter has leased the land from Garney Nixdorf.
He uses it for high-density apple production.
Most of the block is in super spindle ambrosia apple trees with the remainder in slender spindle gala apple trees.
Slender spindle trees are spaced between one and 1.2 metres apart while super spindle trees are spaced just 46 centimetres apart.
“That’s the latest and best method of growing apples,” Potter said.
“Anybody who replants now is going for at least slender spindle and probably super spindle trees,” he said.
The high density orchard has around 12,000 trees. Potter said the close plantings allow for better quality, but a compact orchard is also expensive to plant.
Peter Waterman, a former agrologist who leased the orchard until 2006, planned and planted the block.
Potter said the award for the compact orchard proves small orchards can be productive and profitable.
He recalled a comment from Mayor Janice Perrino in the spring of 2009. Speaking about small agricultural parcels in the community, she said, “Small farms do not feed the world. Big farms work and big farms need to be marketed and promoted.”
Potter said, “I took that as a personal insult. I’ve used that as a motivation to prove her wrong.”
Other awards given at the 2012 Tree Fruit Industry Awards were the Golden Apple Award which went to Avtar Mann of Mann Orchards in Vernon and the Soft Fruit Award which went to Greg and Chris Norton of Oliver.