Kelowna’s Casorso family was the first Italian family to homestead in B.C., arriving here in 1883, says Rob Casorso.
He still farms 52 acres on that original homestead, which includes many of the original historic buildings on Casorso Road. He grows 20 acres of Sovereign Opal wine grapes and Coronation table grapes and 32 acres of fruit trees, mostly pears and apples.
His brother John farms across the road, on land farmed by their father, August Casorso.
His three sisters grow hay on 10 acres adjacent to the Mission Creek Greenway, having just sold six acres of it to advance the Mission Creek Restoration Initiative and permit recreational users to enjoy the greenway on the south side of the creek.
Joan Casorso and Chris Schmidt still live nearby but not on that property, while sister Fran Larsen lives further away.
They remember as youngsters sitting on the banks of Mission Creek before it was diked, fishing in the clear waters and on hot days swimming in the deeper holes.
Their horses were pastured nearby, so they would ride along it as well. What is today a public linear park was their playground.
That property was part of the original Casorso pre-emption that Giovanni Casorso received in November, 1884.
The sisters remember the creek used to flood far and wide, with water up to their hips in many areas.
Today, however, they’re just glad an agreement to sell a small part of their land for public use and re-naturalization of the creek has allowed them to drain, ditch and fence their hay land, so it’s more viable to farm.