Celebrate local agriculture in Kelowna this weekend

For the better part of 30 years Kelowna celebrated its most prolifically-grown fruit during the aptly named, Apple Fair.

For the better part of 30 years Kelowna celebrated its most prolifically-grown fruit during the aptly named, Apple Fair.

It was a great event, explained Christina Neale from Kelowna Museums. But, even great events run their course.

Still wanting an opportunity to celebrate local agriculture, however, museum staff decided to still mark the occasion and merely shifted the event’s focus to a fete for all valley fare.

That gave way to the Grow Local fall fair.

It’s the second year for the event which will be held Oct. 18 at the Laurel Packinghouse, and there have been some tweaks to the inaugural theme.

“Our first installment was to complement the harvest,  so it was  a harvest fair,” said

“This year we’re hoping it will be the premier event for the tree fruit industry.”

Because the BC Orchard museum is in the Laurel Packinghouse, museum staff couldn’t help but realize that apples aren’t the only things that grow on trees.

Tree fruits include the growing of nuts and, in B.C., grapes also fall into the tree fruit category. So, this year expect to see all familiar local fruits celebrated in a myriad of ways.

Top of the list is an apple tasting.

On the table will be 10 commercial brands that B.C. Tree fruit is donating and 12 from heritage or new apple varietals from Summerland Varieties Group.

“Then we have the Pacific Agricultural Research Centre coming up to get Kelowna to do a blind taste test on varietals that aren’t named or on the market yet,” said Neale. “We’re asking Kelowna to decide which apple will go onto the market.”

In addition to tastings, there will be loads of kids activities—including a grape stomp put on by the Italian Canadian club— and presentations for those who are interested in the history of the industry and some current commentary.

“We will have vic from Bees Inc. selling his honey, and sharing stories on why we need bees and why we need to protect them,” said Neale.

“There’s a lot going on, and it’s all about orcharding and growing local,” she said. “We’re really focusing on the stories of the Okanagan, because our orcharding industry is so vast.”

The event costs $2 per person and $5 per family.