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Province providing money to promote new Okanagan apple

An apple developed in the Okanagan and gaining popularity cross B.C. and around the world, is about to be introduced to even more consumers here at home.

The New Tree Fruit Varieties Development Council, a group that represents B.C. ambrosia apple growers, is getting $50,000 in Buy Local program funding to help promote and increase sales of Ambrosia apples in B.C.

The council will use the money to educate consumers who are interested in locally grown foods about the benefits of Ambrosia apples and the ideal ways to eat and serve them.

"The ambrosia apple has a great story as it was discovered right here in our province and is fast-becoming a made in B.C. success story, said Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm. "This funding will help the council bring the Ambrosia story to even more British Columbians."

The council will be  offering samples and recipe ideas at farmers markets  this fall and wants to update its web and social media presence and a plan to introduce British Columbians to the Ambrosia apple farmers who grow this unique variety in the Okanagan.

"We are proud to be leaders in growing nutritious fruit for families right here in B.C. and $50,000 will go a long way to promoting  Kelowna-area fruit producers and supporting the local economy," said Kelowna-Lake Country MLA and former agriculture minister Norm Letnick.

The Buy Local program offers successful applicants matching funds up  to $100,000 to launch or expand local food marketing campaigns.

Building the local market for B.C. foods is a key commitment of the provincial government's agrifoods strategy, a component of the BC Jobs Plan, to lead the agrifoods sector into what it says wil be a $14-billion-a-year industry by 2017.

TheBuy Local program is administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C.

"The Buy Local program is an excellent opportunity to promote Okanagan-grown ambrosia apples throughout B.C. and support our local fruit producers," said Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson.

The Okanagan is home to most of B.C.'s tree-fruit orchards, which generated combined annual revenues of $75 million in 2011. Apples and sweet cherries are B.C.'s two largest tree-fruit crops.

The ambrosia apple is described as a bi-coloured medium to large apple. It has cream-coloured flesh and the fruit is sweet, low acid, crisp, juicy and aromatic. The Ambrosia was first introduced to the public at the annual Apple Festival in Vancouver.

It came from a chance seedling at an orchard in the Similkameen Valley in the early 1990s and was named Ambrosia for its sweet taste.

 

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