Effective immediately (It’s only been approved by the board of B.C. Treefruits Co-op withing the last half of December 2013) a Management initiative to Evaluate the benefits of the Coop investing in Joint venture plantings of (at the moment) 250 acres of Honeycrisp apples in a cool climate area; Applications and discussions will be undertaken as soon as possible on a first come first served basis. As soon as interest is expressed, it will be checked out for suitability re soil, heat units, and so on.
B.C. Tree Fruits is intent on guaranteeing a long term supply of high quality fruit of this variety. With this in mind, they are prepared to discuss a range of options, from their doing everything from planting on up, to the grower/property owner being responsible for care and maintenance of the grove. Since they are going to shoulder a significant investment (planting or replanting), the initial proposal is for a 15 year agreement with a covenant on land title (the agreement would pass to the buyer in the event of sale of the property), with the Coop setting management standards and practices.
They believe this will be a win win. (Southern growers can’t get the necessary quality of fruit, and are only getting in the region of 50% pack – the rest being culls – while Salmon Arm growers get about 80% pack of higher quality fruit). With local yields of non-irrigated fruit reaching about 32,000 pounds per acre, this could be very profitable for the land holder.
Gayle Cran (250-550-4827) is the packing house rep and will be back in her office on January 6th, 2014. Leave a message. First come first served.
Disclaimer: I am not a member or an employee of B.C. TreeFruits. The discussions I have had with Management of the Coop were held on December 25th. I do not know whether or not they intend to install irrigation, nor do I know if the lower yields and lower tree density currently common in the Shuswap will mean an increase of acreage in the scheme, or what the minimum block of land they would be interested in, but your back yard isn’t going to cut it. Obviously, returns will be dependent on yields and the amount of work you are prepared to do. The weather cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty, and prices can vary with market conditions. However, with the major cost (planting) being born by the Co-op, this looks attractive. While I would be inclined to look at blocks with good air and water drainage but suitable for mechanization (no extreme slopes), I don’t set the preferences of the Coop. Any opinion offered by me is only speculative and should not be interpreted as a contractual obligation or guarantee. You are presumed to be adults, and any negotiation with the Co-op is between you and them.
I will be posting another proposal for smaller holdings soon, but it does not involve funding by an outside source.
My own interest comes from being the B.C. NDP southern interior rep for the Standing Committee on Agriculture (SCOA), charged with (among other things) maintaining the ALR. As I see it, the best way to do this is to increase profits to farmers, and I will continue to publish potential opportunities as they come to my attention.
Submitted by -Richard Smiley, 250-679-2254
PS – I am looking for a used four foot 1.5 inch diameter soil auger for soil sampling and would appreciate any leads.