Grower levy to be extended

The apple industry’s New Variety Development Council has a re-newed five-year mandate to continue collecting a levy from growers of the Ambrosia apple for research and promotion in order to keep returns up.

Bruce Currie of Kelowna is chairman of the council. He says it’s the best paying apple variety that B.C. growers produced this year, and he believes it’s also one of the best in terms of flavour, appearance and keeping qualities.

It’s also a variety that was discovered in B.C. and is produced here, he noted.

The 400 or so growers of that variety of apple voted this spring to extend the mandate of the council, and this week the province approved continued imposition of the levy on growers.

It’s the third renewal of five-year terms for the NVDC, which was formed in 2001.

Growers pay a dollar per packed 40-pound box of apples towards promotion of the variety and research into the best techniques for producing, harvesting, packing and storing it.

This year, a top local grower was hired by the council to work with growers on pruning and thinning techniques which produce the best quality Ambrosias, so that prices paid for the variety remain high, said Currie.

“Now we’re working to introduce the variety to consumers,” Currie added.

In fact, he said it stores so well that Ambrosias picked last fall are still available at the Clement Avenue storefront for the Okanagan Tree Fruit Co-operative as well as at local produce counters.

More than 400,000 40-pound cartons of Ambrosias are now produced on 800 acres in the valley. It’s also grown elsewhere under licence to the Okanagan Plant Improvement Company, owned by the B.C. Fruit Growers Association of B.C.

However, Ambrosia apples grown in the U.S. may not be sold in Canada and propagation is also prohibited.



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