Organic growers look for new packers
A declining amount of fruit from organic growers has led to a decision by the Okanagan Tree Fruit Co-operative not to handle it any longer.
Only about five growers have been affected, and they shipped about 800 bins of organic apples to the OTFC this year, reports Chris Pollock from the OTFC.
Chief executive officer Alan Tyabji said it was felt the company couldn’t provide the highest quality of service with diminishing quantities of organic fruit.
Organic growers recently received letters from the co-op recommending they find organic packers who would provide them with the same quality service that OTFC provides conventional growers, he said.
Most local organic tree fruits now are shipped through Cawston Cold Storage which is owned by five orchardist families.
Since most of the region’s organic tree fruit is grown in the Similkameen area anyway, that option is convenient for most growers, noted one of those owners, Linda Edwards of Cawston.
Organic growers can also choose to pack and market their fruit themselves off the farm or through local farmers’ markets, and there are two other companies that handle organic fruit.