Todd Swaby and Christina Allan are the couple behind the new business Francesca Farms. (Contributed)

Straight from DeHart

Vegan couple offer healthy food alternatives

Francesca Farms was born in the basement of Todd Swaby and Christina Allan’s residence.

Through Todd’s job loss during COVID, he took a change in course. With an interest in microgreens, a lot of research and trial and error, Todd produced his first harvest last December. With an opportunity to be at the farmers’ market, Todd jumped in with both feet and converted their garage into a true microgreens grow area. Along with health benefits, microgreens elevate a normal meal to new heights with their beauty, taste and vibrant colour and are free from all pesticides and fertilizers. Currently, Francesca is selling radish, broccoli, speckled pea, yellow mustard, purple kohlrabi and cilantro. Embracing his culinary skills, Todd is creating some specialty products, making a pea shoot pesto as well as a Wannable Wasabi created by using spicy radish microgreens. They also sell a pea shoot Gomae salad kit with their homemade peanut sesame dressing. Check out Francesca Farms at the farmers’ market, currently at Parkinson Recreation Centre but soon to return outdoors to the Dilworth-Springfield site, and at the East Kelowna Market on Sundays beginning April 4. Home delivery is also offered by emailing The Francesca Farms name is homage to their dog that they miss dearly.

Ron Kushneryk, vice-president of design and sales, is celebrating 25 years with AcuTruss Industries in West Kelowna, 1854 Byland Rd. AcuTruss has been in business for 50 years, founded by Dave Marcoux. Ron, along with partners Rob Voros, Brian Greenslade and general manager Barry Schick have offices in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Vernon and Kamloops, and an office and manufacturing plant in Lake Country. The company manufactures a wide range of products including, agricultural, commercial, industrial and residential roof trusses, and floor trusses. AcuTruss is also one of the only company’s in B.C. to manufacture engineered I-Joists (AcuJoist).

Art Lovers Gallery, located in the lobby of the Delta Grand Hotel, is home to the world famous Art of Dr. Seuss Collection. President DJ Block, along with sales curator David Church and new social media team member Jessie Huckabay, have rebranded and redecorated the gallery to showcase these highly collectable limited editions in new and fresh ways. Kelowna is home to the only gallery in Western Canada where you can view and purchase artworks from the amazing Art of Dr. Seuss Collection.

Many things have changed since Delphine Stone went to nursing school more than 60 years ago, but she is sure one element still holds true – the positive role education plays in one’s life. In honour of the value of education, Delphine is donating $50,000 to the Our Students, Your Health Campaign for a new Health Sciences Centre at the Okanagan College Kelowna campus. Delphine remembers receiving a $100 award from the hospital auxiliary that paid for her registration to nursing school.

Uptown Rutland Business Association (URBA) has a new board of directors for 2021 led by incoming president Jamie Needham, with Interior Savings. The board directors are Nick Aubin, Aubin & Associates; Justin Bullock, OK Tire; Ruby Dulay, Centex Gas; Laura Fitzsimmons, Lux Homes; June Forman, MCC Thrift Shop; Jon Garratt, Whisk Cake Co.; Chris Gayford, Cheeba Cheeba’s/Mary Jane’s Headquarters; Navjit Khun Khun, Benson Law; Domenic Rampone, Mara Lumber Home Building Centre; and Nancy Wells, KGH Foundation/Rutland Thrift Store. Ex-officio directors are Kelowna city councillor Brad Sieben and Kevin MacDougall, with RCMP Community Policing. Karen Beaubier is the executive director of URBA.

Kudos to Peter Teschner, owner/builder of Cherry Lane Homes Ltd., on giving his 200th blood donation at Canadian Blood Services. Peter has been regularly donating blood every 56 days for over 30 years, which is six donations per year for 33 years. Next month, the new plasma clinic donation center will open in Orchard Park, which means donors can donate every 28 days. Peter plans on donating more blood per year by donating plasma, as he will be able to donate 13 times per year.

Co-executive director of Her International Tamara McLellan will step away from that role as of March 31. Fellow co-executive director Kate Phelps will replace Tamara, who is looking forward to continuing to support the organization from the sidelines as she builds her own business. Ann Haymond Hill is the president of the organization.

Happy 65th anniversary

Wren and Brenda Torgerson (March 17).

Twenty-five women have formed a new Okanagan Angel Investment Fund with a focus on correcting the gender imbalance faced by women owned businesses when seeking investment and to increase the number of women who are active start-up company investors. The new Okanagan Women’s Mentoring and Angel Network (WMAN) will begin accepting applications from women founded, led or co-led businesses from the region. The five general partners and investors with operational responsibility for the investment fund are Carollynn Schafer, LLB, Schafer Law; Sherri Faloon, retired, self-employed, HJF Capital Corp.; Rose Bharani, Rose Bharani Advisory Services; Karen Christiansen, FCPA, FC, CPA, CA, Partner MNP LLP and Camille Saltman, managing director, Entrepreneurship UBC Okanagan. Applications for funding can be sent to

Okanagan College automotive trades students will get a big boost for their education with the arrival of a shiny new training tool – Ford of Canada and Orchard Ford have donated a 2020 Ford F-150 to the college to be used by students in its automotive service training programs. The donation is part of a nation-wide initiative in which Ford is donating a total of 95 vehicles to educational institutions across the country. Trevor Pollon is the general manager of Orchard Ford and Steve Moores is the OC dean of trades. Automotive service technician student James Midtdal will be one of the first students to have a chance to work on the vehicle.

Funds are being raised to install a barrier free, accessible area so everyone will be able to enjoy what Peachland’s Historic School and its surroundings have to offer. The Peachland Community Arts Council is one of the tenants of the building. The plaza will have the additional benefit of creating outdoor meeting space for displays, celebratory events and other gatherings. To meet the estimated $500,000 cost, application for grants, corporate sponsorship bid support and fundraising events including a crowdfunding appeal using the Wayblaze platform and a peach ribbon campaign are in the works. Deborah Livingstone is the arts council president.

This spring break, why not get outside and active by visiting any of the 30 regional parks across the Central Okanagan. Each day during spring break, knowledgeable park interpreters will be walking the trails in many of the parks. With masks and physical distancing, they will gladly answer any questions you might have and perhaps share some park secrets. As well, visitors to the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan (EECO) in Mission Creek Regional Park can pick up materials to help discover bird watching.

Birthdays of the week

Happy 60th Tracy Gilbert (Mar. 22); happy 50th Natasha Frappier (Mar. 23); DJ Block (Mar. 17); Matt Cherrille (Mar. 17); Trevor Pollon (Mar. 17); John Clarke (Mar. 18); Mike Koutsantonis (Mar. 18); Corrie Meere (Mar. 18); Bert Gee (Mar. 19); Ryan Smith (Mar. 19); Rachel Renaud (Mar. 19); Garry Benson (Mar. 19); Matt Wachter (Mar. 19); Karen Beaubier (Mar. 20); Kent Molgat (Mar. 20); Frank Singer (Mar. 21); Matthew Jensen (Mar. 21); Jim Ross (Mar. 23); Ariel Tyk (Mar. 22); Dale Safinuk (Mar. 23); Martin Mills (Mar. 23).

Maxine DeHart is a Kelowna city councillor and local hotelier. Phone her at 250-979-4546 or 250-862-7662; email

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